Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3-10April)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

This past week we continued to eat our way through the once a month delivery of food. To top up supplies I did:

  1. Change my regular veg box order from medium boxes of veg and fruit to just one small veg box (no potatoes). Some weeks I do really well with my veg box but other weeks some of the stuff can end up in the compost, which I know is a complete waste of food and money. I’m trying to be better and only order when I really need it, and change the order depending on what we need.

2. With this in mind, I made sure I used up most items within a few days, even if we didn’t eat them. I roasted some of the tomatoes and courgettes, to make a pasta sauce later in the week. I also tried my hand at wild garlic pesto (stored in an old Nutella jar):

Wild garlic pesto organic veg box

Wow! Normally I add the wild garlic to a little salad or soup a little half heartedly – and then end up composting the rest.But this recipe really worked to help extend its shelf life. Although I added a couple of spoonfuls to some pasta, the taste was a bit TOO strong (although it would have kept vampires at bay!). But, I have kept it stored in the fridge and am now using it as a replacement for garlic cloves in recipes, adding a teaspoon at a time to dishes.

 

3. On the food front I also topped up the olive oil in my cupboard as I ran out earlier in the week and hadn’t ordered a replacement. My local Holland and Barret store has a large oil refill station. You buy the glass bottles, fill them with oil and then pay. Next time you return to the shop, you just refill the glass bottle and pay only for the oil. I love that mainstream stores are now offering zero waste products and services. When I saw the oil and sesame oil reduced I had to buy it. Once I’ve used these bottles I can keep returning to the store to fill up, thus encouraging repeat custom.

 

 

4. My daughter helped to collect the eggs from the school hens and came home with some beautiful eggs on the last day of term – perfect timing for Easter!

Multicoloured eggs pastel hens eggs

5. On Saturday night we went to a fundraiser for Alzheimers Society. We took part in a quiz, enjoyed a ploughmans meal and bought a few raffle tickets. We ended up winning a Ghostbusters 1 & 2 dvd plus big bag of popcorn – perfect evening entertainment for the school holidays!

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 March – 2 April)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

This past week I tried to get more organised with giving things away, and planning for the month ahead.

  1. My husband fixed the vacuum cleaner! He used another one of the replacement belts I had ordered, and succeeded where I had failed 😦 We now have a spare belt in case it happens again.
  2. For my book group we are reading Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes. One of the joys of working in Bath is being able to pop into the library and pick up a copy (or order it via the excellent Libraries West service). They had a copy on the shelf so I was able to borrow it straight away.
  3. I’m trying to be more organised with getting rid of items we no longer need. Instead of letting them pile up by the door, I have a box in which I am putting them. The plan is to take donations to the charity shops as soon as anything is put in the box. Again, one of the joys of being in Bath is being able to pop out on my lunchbreak and drop stuff off at a charity shop (and have a quick browse while I’m there!)
  4. The beginning of the month means a) clearing out (and cleaning) the fridge and cupboards; b) meal planning for the month ahead; and c) ordering an online delivery.                                                                                                                                Because I don’t have much access to the car and hate food shopping, I have got into the habit of shopping once a month. It’s a money-saving tip I first picked up from Danielle at the Blissful and Domestic blog. The idea is you shop once (apart from fresh milk, bread, some fruit and veggies) and you shouldn’t have to visit the store again for that month. If I run out of things I have to make do with what I’ve got.                                                                                                                                     In order to do these I have to meal plan for the month. It takes quite a while to work out what we are going to eat (which can depend on what we are doing later in the month, ie birthdays, day trips, Easter meals etc). But once the meals are planned, and the food ordered and delivered, that’s it for the rest of the month.

Over on instagram I have been sharing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of my cupboards and fridge (if you like that kind of thing!). The aim is to show how we go from a full fridge to an empty one by the end of the month by posting pics every week. In my view, an empty fridge means I’ve planned well for the month and haven’t had to throw food away.

Before and after my monthly delivery:


Empty fridge at the end of the month

 

 

5. On a sad note, we have had to give up the garage we rent 😦 We own one car (see the post here about living in a small rural community with just one car) but, due to the location of our cottage, we have nowhere nearby to park it.

A few years ago we started renting a garage at the far end of our road. This seemed like the answer to our dreams: no more struggling to find a parking place (and annoying neighbours); a guaranteed parking spot at all times; and safe, secure and weather-proof parking under cover.

However, the housing association whom we rent the garage from are selling off all their garages and we had to vacate ours by today. The one advantage is that we only stored our car and roofbox in the building. Lots of neighbours used them for storage and, for the past few weeks, have been busy clearing out and moving all their stuff. I’m just glad that we don’t have that much stuff that we need extra storage for it, but am sad that we will now be adding to the parking problem in our village:(

Please let me know about your Thrifty Finds -and your tips for meal planning and food shopping – on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (6-12 March)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

Hello! How was your week? Did you have any Thrifty Finds, make any savings or choose  not to buy?At the weekend we ran our Repair Cafe, I also inherited a new armchair and carried on with reducing our food waste.

1. The Repair Cafe was pretty successful. We changed location, gained a new volunteer (who will be doing plastic repairs at the next cafe), and had a visit from colleagues in another part of the county who will be running their first Repair Cafe in May. I also got a moth eaten item of clothing fixed by the lovely Alison, our volunteer seamstress.

 

 

 

 

2. My parents bought along two items to be looked at: their Kenwood mixer (which is as old as me!) was easily fixed, but their paper shredder was a no go. However I’ve taken the wire basket from the shredder and am now using it as a waste paper basket at home.

3. Following the Repair Cafe I came home and fixed our vacuum cleaner all by myself! I had ordered a new belt for it and, following an excellent YouTube video, I was able to replace it!

4. My parents very generously gave us their old armchair, which fits perfectly in our sitting room:

 

 

5. I continued to work hard to reduce our food waste, following the ecothriftyliving blog and Facebook group. We’ve eaten banana bread, apple muffins and lots of leftovers this past week!

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 Feb – 5 March)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

This past week it’s been all about the school jumble sale.

Jumble Sale sign

If you’re a regular reader of ‘Thrifty Finds’ you’ll know that I’ve spent the last couple of months decluttering and donating to the jumble sale. In the end we gave away about a dozen bin bags (and could have given more) but I just didn’t appreciate how much other STUFF everyone else had donated too. Sorting through the jumble took the committee seven hours to do on Friday! And even though we were busy at the sale (and made an amazing £1000 for school funds) we still spent a couple of hours clearing it all away at the end. There is still SO MUCH left! And now we don’t know what to do with it!

I was very restrained and only picked up a few items that I really needed:

1. This blue enamel dish which will have many uses in the kitchen. I also got a glass kilner jar and this gorgeous Moomin tray. I also picked up a travel game and Jacqueline Wilson story CD for the girls.

Blue enamel bowl via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Jumble sale find: Moomin tray via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. I bought two items of clothing. The blue top had never been worn and still had a £26 price tag on it!

Jumble sale find: blue unworn top from Next

 

Jumble Sale find: purple top from Instant Vintage

 

3. Jumble Sale aside, my other Thrifty Finds included baking a big batch of cookies from some unidentified frozen dough in the freezer (turned out to be banana and chocolate chip cookies).

4. I’m still addicted to podcasts. This weekend I listened to Part 1 of Radio 4’s adaptation of HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ ( one of my favourite books). You can find it here

5. I have just joined a new Facebook group organised by Zoe from the ecothriftyliving blog. It’s all about reducing food waste and using up those items lurking at the back of your cupboard, freezer etc. I’m really going to try to tackle our food waste (and packaging). I’ve been rather lax with this lately as I adjust to a new and busy job, but want to get better. You can find out more here

On a final note I’m running the next Repair Cafe on Saturday so will have a few mending tales for next week:

Repair Cafe in Box, Wiltshire

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (20-27 February)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

 

This past week has seen us do a lot of decluttering and I have tried to work through our freezer and cupboards without doing much extra food shopping. I also had a couple of evenings out, courtesy of work.

  1. The school Jumble Sale is this coming Saturday and at the weekend we worked hard to sort the loft. I have donated our home brewing equipment which we haven’t used for ten years; we have two car radios plus lots of books, clothes, toys etc. I also got my husband to go through a couple of boxes of paperwork which is a BIG achievement (think he has about ten boxes of work related papers, clippings, receipts etc stored in the loft). The end result is our conservatory is now cluttered with bags waiting to go to the school…

Jumble Sale sign2. I have decided not to do my monthly food shop until the end of the week (later than planned) as we still have quite a few things to eat from the freezer and cupboards. There are a couple of items I have had to buy but am hoping I can stretch other foodstuffs until the end of the week.

3. I was invited to a friends’ on Saturday night for a ‘girls’ night in’. The theme was tapas and I made use of a lot of items I had at home to make some Spanish/Mexican dips (guacamole, tapenade, salsa) and tortilla chips. I did buy some Manchego cheese and beers to take but everything else was made from ingredients I already had at home.

homemade guacamole, salsa, tapenade

4. Courtesy of work I got to go to a swish awards ceremony on Thursday and a gallery opening on Friday. My husband joined me for the latter so we got some grown up time together. If you live in Bath the Victoria Art Gallery has this new exhibition called History Through a Lens, which is a very thought-provoking exhibition of photographs from the past 90 years. Many of them are hard-hitting iconic images (current refugee crisis, war photographs, 9/11) so it’s not for everyone.

5. I’m now working my way through some borrowed reading books. I’ve just read ‘The Haunting of House Hill’ by Shirley Jackson  (borrowed from a fellow member of our book group) and picked up a library book called ‘The Somnambulist’ by Essie Fox.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you make use of your local library, or do you have any favourite second-hand purchases?
 You can share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (23-30 Jan)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comI’m not sure if they count as Thrifty Finds but this past week has found me trying to use up leftovers and struggling with the whole veg box thing…

  1. We finished off a few things that had been hiding in the freezer. We seem to have lots of packets that just have one thing in them, ie one pizza, one veggie grill. Still, the kids don’t seem to mind the mixing and matching that goes on. Thanks to some forward planning by my husband who cooked a load of bolognese, we had an easy to cook meal after a busy day at work as well.
  2. As I mentioned I am struggling with the veg box. Now that I’m busier with work I don’t always have the time to cook meals that will use up items like cabbage, celeriac, beetroot and winter lettuce. I find that I have to be quite imaginative when it comes to getting the girls to eat these ingredients. I’m not sure if a veg box is right for us still and find it a challenge to use it all up (looking back at previous posts it seems I had exactly the same problem two years ago!) . On the plus side, a friend lent me the Anna Jones cookery book and, over the weekend, I made a winter salad plus celeriac steaks and sweet potato fries.

using up the veg box via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

3. I also got my ‘baking mojo’ back, having not made much since Christmas. I used up the beetroots in the veg box to make some brownies and also baked some banana cake and muffins.

4. On a non-food related matter my husband and I sneaked off to the cinema during the day. Such a treat! It was a Monday and so we got cheaper cinema tickets.

5. I decided that this January I was going to ‘re-read’ my bookshelves. So I have been going back to some favourite novels that haven’t been read for ages. I just finished ‘Starlight’ by Stella Gibbons and am now halfway through ‘Every Man for Himself’ by Beryl Bainbridge. I am really enjoying reading them again and I haven’t had to go out and buy or borrow any new books. So, possibly the ‘Thriftiest Find’ of all!

re-reading the bookshelf

Do you ever go back to any favourite novels you’ve kept on the bookshelf – or do you do give them away once they’ve been read?

Don’t forget you can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (16-22 Jan)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comSo now that I’m getting into a new working pattern my week is starting to look rather different. One of the biggest changes is being in Bath three times a week and having a lunch break. If I’m not careful I will be trawling charity shops a lot and my Thrifty Finds may grow ….

This past week, though, I was still quite restrained :

  1. I’ve had mixed fortunes  dealing with food waste this past week. I managed to use up the last of the Christmas mincemeat by adding it to a fruit cake. I also used up the water which I had kept after cooking some beetroots. I added it to some homemade playdough for the kids – which turned into a cool red colour.

homemade playdough made with natural beetroot dye

But, if I’m honest, I’m still struggling with the veg and fruit box and not using all the ingredients. I had to throw away a few mouldy oranges and a lot of lettuce 😦

2. I picked up a couple of books on Slow Living/Living intentionally at the library. I realised I hadn’t got a book from the library for well over a month. It was nice to have time to browse the shelves and, now my kids are older, I don’t have to head straight for the children’s corner.

library books as part of Thrifty Finds series on seoncdhandtales.wordpress.com

3. I finally received that refund for the delayed train last month (We were stuck on a train outside Sevenoaks station for over an hour!)

4. I went to a free lunchtime talk at Bath Guildhall. It was about the 50th anniversary of Bath Record Office. As part of my job I will be promoting this great service.

5. I’m struggling at the moment with the free coffee from Waitrose that I pick up every morning when I’m at work. I know I shouldn’t struggle with free coffee but I do wonder how it affects trade in the other local coffee shops. I’m currently planning a post on this. In the meantime I take my trusty re-usable coffee cup (and have already had a few conversations with people about it!). I also received double stamps on my loyalty card from another coffee shop because I brought a reusable cup!

Reusable bamboo coffee cup

And finally… not a Thrifty Find at all but I wanted to say that I marked last Friday by meeting up with the lovely Deborah from The Magic Jug blog. She had been in town earlier to help with the ‘Build Bridges Not Walls’ banner that had been draped over Bath’s historic Pulteney Bridge – to mark Trump’s inauguration  (see here). It’s always so lovely when you meet up with someone whose words you read on a regular basis. And last Friday it was even nicer to meet up with a similar minded person. I also watched and read all the coverage on the Women’s Marches which stirred my feminist soul and made me feel I really had to do something.

 

princess-leia via ladieswhodesign.com

You can download this poster via womenwhodesign website here

(You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram)