Living Below the Line 2017 – Day 10 – Day 12.

Sunday – Day 10 of my challenge.

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Breakfast: Two poached eggs, half a tin of beans, two pieces of toast, 31p.

I did two things to add to my food store today.

First of all, I noticed that Foodprint had opened their shop – they get food from suppliers that is short dated or out of date, and sell it to the public at reduced prices. The money is then ploughed back into the enterprise. So I decided to go by before work, to see if they had anything I could use.

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This cost me £1.30! Two loaves of bread, 10p each, cucumber, 10p each, two bags of pears, 10p each, 4 large naan breads, 40p, two big potatoes, 5p each and two large carrots, 15p each.

Having spent £1.30 of my food budget, I had £3.97 left. It’s somewhere I’ll go back for sure, it helps us save money while Husband is not earning so much and stops food being wasted!

Husband was then going to Sharing Sherwood in the evening and I gave him some money in case there was some food you could donate and get some for. Husband brought home this for me:

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Food from Sharing Sherwood: Mushy bananas, free! Honeydew melon, 20p. Mozzarella cheese, 20p.

Cheese!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! That and meat is what I have missed the most, in terms of food. So with my spends there, I had £3.57 left to last me until Thursday at midnight.

Terms has finished at the uni now so there are fewer students about. Work was very calm, which is something I needed.

As it was the last Sunday before Christmas we had a work fuddle; everyone brought something including yours truly. Except of course I could not have any of said food.

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This is what we all sat down to have. Your truly brought the crisps. This is what my colleagues had…..

 

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….aaaaand this is what I had. One naan bread, half a tin of peaches, 100ml yogurt, 38p.

The naan bread was just delicious. I have sorely missed things with flavour in them so this was wonderful to have. I had to snort at the prep guidelines though as they all said to brush it with butter before serving. What is this ‘butter’ ye speak of?

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Dinner: A free banana, some vegetable soup and a naan bread. 21.4p

One of my colleagues asked me on Sunday what I have gotten fed up with the most in terms of food during my challenge. I answered instantly and without a doubt the vegetable soup. I have had QUITE enough soup to last me a long while now and I will eat the batch I made in the week but then that’s it. No soup for the foreseeable future.

Monday, day 11 of the challenge.

Sunday and Monday were bitterly cold and I could really feel it Monday morning. Really struggled to get out of bed so ate breakfast while dashing around getting ready.

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Breakfast: Free banana and two pieces of toast with lemon curd. 7p. (Sorry, was hungry!)
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Lunch: Vegetable soup, free banana, two pears. 13p.

It did not help that our workspace was cold either. Couldn’t even have a cup of tea to take the chill off. At least I could fill my water bottle at work and drink that.

I had some errands to run after work so got home feeling worn out and cold. So decided to really splash out.

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A feast for me! Dinner was: Potato, 5p, half a blob of mozzarella, 10p, 2 sardines in oil, 25p and 100ml of natural yogurt, 12p. 52p altogether.

Dat potato doe. It was so filling and lovely. Couldn’t believe it when I saw it in the basket for 5p! It was as big as my fist!

Monday night is the fullest and most satisfied I have felt since starting the challenge. My dinner was warm, delicious and filling and I had lots of energy afterwards. I did two loads of laundry, washed up, tidied and dusted downstairs, and hooved and took the rubbish and recycling out. Getting some proper food made a huge difference to my energy levels and mood for sure!

Tuesday, the 12th day of my challenge.

My day off and for the first time in a long time, I had nothing in my planner for Tuesday. Very rare, as Tuesday is the day I use to catch up with all the things I can’t manage to do in the week when I’m working.

Bitterly cold again today and really missing having a hot drink today. Especially while sitting doing life admin, doing my self employed work and catching up with eBaying.

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Breakfast: Two pieces of toast, two poached eggs, half a tin of beans, 31p.
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Lunch: Started on the 10p loaf from Foodprint today. Four pieces of toast, lemon curd, 6p.
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Dinner: A third of cucumber, pitta bread, rice with a stock cube and the rest of the natural yogurt, 35p.

We are seeing Husband’s employers tomorrow for the appeal meeting so I am saving my potato and mozzarella for that as I NEED to be switched on and paying attention during that meeting.

Two more days to go.

I am doing the Living Below the Line challenge where I am living on £1 a day in food and drink – all funds raised will be donated to the Trussell Trust. You can sponsor me here, if you wish.

I have also written about the preparation for my challenge, and days one to three, four to six and seven to nine.

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Living Below the Line 2017 – Day 7 – Day 9.

The challenge marches on! With or without me, I guess.

Thursday – halfway point! Day 7.

Many are asking me how I am feeling and how the challenge is going. I think my stomach has shrunk as I don’t feel as ravenous and fed up as I did. This is down to me planning however as I can’t imagine I would be very pleased if I would have to wait for my food. Perhaps it’s even the idea that I know food will be available later that is keeping me going.

I weighed myself today. When I started the challenge, I weighed myself on the 1st of December and the scales showed 77.1 kilos (12.14 stone according to Google). Today I weighed myself and I clocked in at 74 kilos (11.65 stone). That’s three kilos or half a stone I have lost in 7 days.

Husband did not seem that impressed with this until I pointed out that the weight I have lost on this challenge equates to three bags of sugar.

I know the challenge is called Living Below the Line but I can imagine for people who have this as their reality, it’s not really living. It’s just existing.

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Breakfast: Two pieces of toast, half a tin of beans, two poached eggs. Can afford two eggs as I bought the cheaper eggs this time. 31p
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Lunch: Carrot sticks and two and a half apples. 16p.
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Dinner: vegetable soup, two pieces of toast, 29p.

The end is in sight.

Friday, the 8th day of the challenge.

A group of students came by the library where I work and let us know they were doing free tea tastings as part of their Lifeskills cafe. I was asked if I wanted anything as they can deliver. I asked if I can have an Earl Grey with milk and sugar and a little while later a student came back with a mug of steaming, glorious gold. I savoured every drop of that tea!

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Breakfast: two poached eggs and two pieces of toast, 20p.
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Lunch: Half a tin of baked beans, three apples (the last ones!), 20.5p
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Dinner: Time to break open the sardines! Two sardines in oil, two pieces of toast, 31p.
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Snack: Four pieces of toast, lemon curd, 15p.

The beans, bread and eggs I bought Wednesday night are keeping me going. Having a proper breakfast is so important as I feel much better equipped to face the day if I’ve had something proper to eat.

I also didn’t expect to like the sardines so much. I have never had them before until this challenge but found them to taste similar to mackerel. It just had so much flavour in it, something I have really missed as I haven’t been able to season anything (sure, I could BUY seasoning, but food is more important). I used the toast to mop up the oil and have saved the other two sardines (there were four in a pack) for later. Might have them on Monday.

Saturday, day 9 of Living Below the Line.

Saturday I found it really hard to get going. I kept hitting the snooze button meaning I only had a little time once I’d gotten out of bed actually get something together. I think it’s the combination of feeling tired and it being so dark all the time that does it. I made toast and lemon curd and inhaled these while waiting for the shower to warm up (hey. don’t judge me!) .

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Breakfast when Silver is in a hurry: Two pieces of toast, lemon curd, 7p.
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Lunch when Silver can’t be bothered: half a tin of beans, 11.5p.
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Dinner: I decided to have breakfast. Two poached eggs, half a tin of beans, two pieces of toast, 31p.

Earlier in the week I had read that a shop that was featured at Sharing Sherwood one night, Foodprint, was due to open. It sounded just right for me on my limited budget and so I decided to visit them on Sunday before work to see if there was anything I could use to save myself some of my limited budget. I’ll write about that in my next post. As it stands now I have £5.27 left to last me for food and drink until Thursday.

I am currently Living Below the Line for the Trussell Trust – I am living on £1 a day in food and drink for 14 days. If you wish you can sponsor me here.

You can read about my prep here, and days 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 as well, to see how I got on.

 

Living Below the Line 2017 – Day 4 – Day 6.

It’s starting to feel a bit better now. I am not as hungry as I was the first three days – though I must say my mood is still altered.

I feel that my fuse is much shorter than what it normally is and I keep having to pep talk myself into stop being so quick to anger all the time. Even about quite trivial things.

Monday, day 4. Mondays is the busiest day in my week.

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Breakfast: Poached egg, 1/2 tin of beans, 2 pieces of toast, 29p
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Lunch: Free BLT squirreled from work on Saturday.
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Dinner: Free BLT squirreled from work and half the portion of carrot soup I made Sunday night, 17p.

Because I know my mood is lower than normal and because I quite often have to challenge behaviour at work on Mondays, I decided to have more ‘normal’ food to keep my mood level that day.

Tuesday, day 5 of the challenge.

Even though it’s my day off, I still had a lot of stuff to do. Have to attend meetings, collect parcels from the depot, and take Husband to appointments. Not sure why but Tuesday also felt particularly cold so wanted to ensure I kept my energy levels up, so I didn’t jump on anyone.

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Breakfast: Two poached eggs, two pieces of toast, 34p. No more beans left!
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Lunch: Free Sandwich I squirreled from work, swede and potato soup, 19.5p
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Snack to keep me going: Two apples from my greengrocer bag, 6p
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Dinner: Swede and potato soup, two pieces of toast, half a tin of peaches and 100 ml of natural yogurt, 57p
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The food I had left on Tuesday night. No eggs, two slices of bread only and no beans. I had one sandwich left in my stash so decided to save that for Wednesday night for my dinner.

Adding this up I have realized I was 12p over on Tuesday. I think having two eggs contributed to this. I will be much more careful in future. That being said I only spent 57p of my budget on Monday so I am not overly concerned. Thank goodness for the sandwiches though – they have been an integral part of my diet.

Wednesday, day 6 of the challenge.

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Breakfast: Two pieces of toast, lemon curd 1/4 tin of peaches, 100 ml of natural yogurt, 28p
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Lunch: Vegetable soup I made from some of the frozen veg, carrots, apples. The one apple is halved because the other half was so mushed and rotted it was beyond salvaging. I only ate the soup and half of the carrots. Think my stomach is shrinking. 28p.
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Dinner: Vegetable soup, last sandwich from my stash at work. 26p
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Dessert (?): A quarter of tinned peaches, 100ml of yogurt. 22p

Monday night I had a phone call from a panel I am a member of and after going through some of the screening questions they asked if I wanted to test ice creams for them on Wednesday and Thursday. Yes, certainly! Only for me to arrive Wednesday night for the first part of the product test and realizing (maybe it’s because I am nutritionally impaired, maybe I was fantasizing about ice cream) that it was a study about icecream CONES. It was just the cones they wanted us to test! But sure, so had three icecream cones to test/inhale.

Thursday is day 7 for me so I realised I needed to stock up on a few things. I now know what works and doesn’t work very well and realized I need protein, especially in the morning, to have energy to just get going. So I went to Lidl after doing my product testing on Wednesday and bought some more food.

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My top up shop from Lidl. I bought 15 eggs, 1 loaf of bread, a tin of peaches and four tins of beans, totaling £1.74. This means I have £5.27 to spend on food until the 14th of December, as it of course includes my 1p from last week!

For the uninitiated: I am doing the Living Below the Line challenge to raise money for the Trussell Trust!

If you wish, you can sponsor me here.

You can read about how I got on with the first three days of my challenge here.

Living Below the Line 2017 – Day 1 – Day 3.

Holy hell, it’s been a journey.

I started my Living Below the Line challenge on Friday the 1st of December, having spent part of that week preparing for my challenge.

Waking up and going to feed the cat that morning, my first action would have been to put the kettle on and making myself a cup of tea.

Tea, milk and sugar/sweetener were just out of the question for my budget so I just had good old tap water. I know it is a first world problem as the tap water is safe to drink but it just tastes blergh in our area. Thank goodness at both my workplaces we have filtered water. So I could bring my trusty water bottle and fill her up.

Friday and Saturday morning have been the hardest parts of the challenge physically. Friday night I fell asleep watching stuff with Husband and I never do. Saturday I wanted to dash for the bus to get to work, but found I had to walk as I simply didn’t have the energy. I could and still can feel my mood really diving as well.

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Breakfast: poached egg, two toast, half a tin of beans, 29p.
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Lunch: Two apples, swede and potato soup, 25p.
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Dinner: Rice, one stock cube and boiled carrots, 31p.

Saturday however I was at work and we had an open day there, and to say thanks my employer provides all staff work help out that day with a free lunch. This stuff. THIS STUFF! Just heaven sent! And could have tea as well as they provide free hot drinks for staff who are staffing stalls on site! Yess!

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Breakfast: A poached egg, half a tin of beans, two pieces of toast, 29p.
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Tea with milk and sugar, provided by work. I had three full cups of this.
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Lunch, provided by work: BLT sandwich, vegetable soup (had two cups of this), crisps and KitKat.

People have been so generous to me, offering me food and offering me leftovers and offering to buy me drinks. But I have been reluctant to accept because I feel it undermines the challenge and the idea behind it. It does go to show though how people who live like this, probably have to rely on their friends and family a lot to be able to just survive.

I did accept the food given to me at work on Saturday as it is a benefit provided to its employees for working there.

At the end of the day, any food that is left over, is thrown out as the date is quite short. So I went over and asked as Catering were packing up, to ask if I could please have any sandwiches they were throwing out.

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I didn’t want to go overboard as it’s important to share But I got one ham, four BLT and one ploughman’s sandwich that would otherwise have gone in the bin.

Those sandwiches were gifts of pure gold. They have kept me going as they provide just something of substance and more importantly, meat. And calories.

 

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Saturday night’s dinner: Swede and potato soup with free leftover sandwich, 19p
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Sunday breakfast: 1 poached egg, half a tin of beans, 2 toast, 29p
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A pan of soup I made Sunday morning from some of the carrots and half a potato and a stock cube, 47p.

I have tried to restrict myself to have one sandwich a day just to keep me going. It has been cold this week so keeping warm has been a challenge. Normally I would have hot drinks to keep me going but can’t do that right now as no money for any.

The hand blender from my sister in laws’s family has been so useful as I can blend anything I want into soup.

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Sunday lunch: Free BLT sandwich
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Dinner: Carrot and potato soup, four pieces of toast, 32p.

There have been some bumps in the road.

I did not expect my mood to change so suddenly. I feel my patience is thinner what is normally is and I have to pep talk myself more as I get cross about trivial things.

Also, Husband didn’t realise whose loaf was whose so when I came home on Saturday night I realised he’d had FOUR of my bread pieces to make his lunch.

But I have learnt as I have gone through with it. For example, to have dinner ready BEFORE going to work in the morning, as you will be hangry when you get in. It’s no fun standing there fizzling while your rice boils.

I wonder what the rest of the challenge will bring?

If you want to sponsor me, you can do so here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ellen-wiley

 

 

 

 

Living Below the Line 2017 – The prep.

So.

It all kicks off tomorrow. I will be living on £1 a way in food and drink from the 1st to the 14th of December, to raise money for the Trussell Trust, by doing the Living Below the Line Challenge.

I have already had a think about what to buy and have bought things in batches this week to prepare myself for the following week. To ensure I minimize the risk of losing food through it, I have made the decision to buy the food in weekly batches. So I’ve spent £7 to cover me for the first week and will spend £7 for the next week.

I have bought the following:

  • 1 kilo of Tesco Everyday Value Rice, 40p.
  • 500g of Tesco Everyday Value Low Fat Natural Yogurt, 60p.
  • Sainsbury’s Fish Stock cubes, 45p.
  • 1 tin of Sainsbury’s Sardines in Oil, 45p.
  • 1 tin of Sainsbury’s Basics Peaches in Light Syrup, 40p.
  • 1 bag of Sainsbury’s Basics Frozen veg, 900G, 90p.
  • 1 Sainsbury’s Basics Lemon Curd, 411 grams, 35p.
  • 1 Loaf of Sainsbury’s Basics White Loaf, 40p.
  • 2 tins of baked beans from Aldi, 23p each.
  • 1 pack of large eggs from Aldi, 85p.
  • The mother of all Swedes, 39p.
  • The grandpappy of all potatoes, a bag of forlorn apples, and two bags of carrots from the greengrocers, £1.20.

This came to £6.99 (so have 1p left!).

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As I was sitting down to work after dinner this evening, I suddenly thought about tomorrow.

Normally while we do shop frugally, when I go to work I just throw something together in the morning and take it with me. It could be a salad with leftover meat, it could be cereal and a small container of milk, and some fruit and yogurt. It could be thins with ham. It could be instant noodles.

Now however I will have to plan everything very carefully. I can’t just get up in the morning and take what I want. Food has to be prepared in advance for the next day’s lunch at work, especially if it’s something that has to be cooked if I am to stay on target. And tea I can quite frankly forget about.

So off I went to make tomorrow’s lunch (and maybe dinner? We’ll see if I have the will to live to make something with the rice and veg tomorrow) after some research. Yes, there are some nice swede soup recipes out there but they all need ingredients I don’t have like oil, salt, pepper and cream.

So I peeled and chopped the whole swede and half the potato into chunks and cooked them slowly in water barely covering them until they were tender, then added one stock cube and used the hand blender. I added some parsley and thyme from the garden.

 

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Prep in progress.

 

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The grandpappy of all potatoes. Look at the size of that thing! 

 

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All diced and ready to cook.
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The finished product. This will keep me going for days. The whole casserole full cost me 58.5p to make.

Finally I want to just say how humbled and grateful I am for everyone who has sponsored me, pledged to sponsor me, shared my posts or given me tips and/or encouragement. You make me all fuzzy. Thank you.

If you want to sponsor me, you can do so here:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ellen-wiley

 

 

 

This week in review: HNNGGGGGGGGGGH.

Good grief.

So regular readers will know that we started the process of applying for PIP for Husband in May.

We had the assessment, had Husband turned down (as in, he received 0 points), and were told we could ask for a mandatory reconsideration. This has to be done before it can be taken to tribunal.

Very well. So we wrote a letter explaining why they needed to look at it again and what we disagreed with. I sent this as a recorded delivery on the 7th of November to be sure it got there before deadline of the 10th of November. I logged in to the Royal Mail website and saw that it had been signed for at their end on the 9th of November.

This Wednesday we had a letter back from the DWP to say they had taken a look at their decision again and were still not awarding Husband any points.

Said letter was dated the 7TH OF NOVEMBER, the same day we sent our letter to them.

So, they have clearly not even considered what we put in it.

Not to mention: The letter states that if you want to take it to a tribunal, you have 30 days from the date of the letter to notify the court about your intent to do so.

Now, the letter was dated the 7th of November and we received it on Wednesday. That’s eight days that we’ve lost on the time we’ve got to notify them.

This week has just been a big, grey mass. I’m just worn out and fed up all the time, haven’t had the energy to do a lot this week. Cooking has just gone out the window.

I am convinced that they ensure the process of applying for PIP is the way it is, to deter people from applying, or if they are turned down, to wear people down so much they won’t challenge it.

I will have to get the form started next week at some point – just need to go through it step by step and explain why we disagree with their decision.

Just need to get the will to live back first.

If you want to read about our previous experiences, you can do so here, here and here.

 

Living Below the Line Challenge 2017.

I mentioned earlier this year that I intended to take part in the Living Below the Line challenge.

Since then I have waited for it to be announced but thus far, it does not seem to be happening. I have therefore decided to try and do this myself. From the 1st to the 14th of December, I will be living on £1 a day in food and drink.

I have decided that I will give all my donations and the money I would normally have spent on food for me, too the Trussels Trust. This is a charity close to my heart and one we have collected food and toiletries for many times in the past.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ellen-wiley

I have already been doing some research – meat is certainly out of the window as is milk and tea (Noooooooo!).

I think a lot of my diet will be carb based, so potatoes, rice, maybe some veg. I have already decided to buy:

  • Rice. 1 kg of rice can be bought for 45p.
  • Stock cubes. Makes broth which can be drunk, and can be added to said rice to make it more wholesome and flavourful. The Sainsbury’s Basics stock cubes taste nice and costs 20p a pack. If they have them I will go for the beef ones as it says they have one more calorie per serving than the other two kinds.
  • Vegetables of some kind. Nothing that needs frying, as that will need oil, which is again, out of my league. And it’s got to be cheap. Carrots certainly. And anything I can find which is very reduced. Or frozen veg.
  • Fruit of some sort. Considering tinned peaches, maybe bananas.
  • Natural yogurt as it can be used to top dinner dishes and works as breakfast, plus it gets me calcium.
  • Bread. A cheap loaf costs 40p.
  • Jam of some kind.
  • Eggs would be nice but don’t know if I can afford it.
  • Herbal tea? Something hot to drink would be nice. Buuuuut, I could use broth to drink as well.

The challenge appears to permit people to use what they can grow themselves, so I will be using the herbs in the yard and the nasturtium that grows there.

I can sense a LOT of soup on the horizon in a few weeks’ time….

So tune back in on the 30th of November when I’ll be showcasing exactly what I’ve bought. I will keep posting pictures of what I have prepared and show you how it’s going.