Back to Basics and Thursday Night Tea

basic 2Today it is time to get back to basics. We started this project to save ourselves money. We started this project to see if it was possible. Somewhere along the way we started to care hugely about trying to support our local economy. In trying to do so we got a huge sense of being in a community. We learnt that local shopping matters for so many and on so very many levels.

Just the other day Lizzie and Becksie were shopping in a local shop when a fellow customer said to the lovely shop keeper that that shop was literally keeping her elderly parents alive. The conversation was a beautiful exchange and a) made Becksie’s eyes well up and b) with a bump and a start made her realise a new how our local shop keepers are providing a lifeline service for many on many levels. What if we don’t use them and by the time we are old the lifeline has gone? The human contact given by local shops really is part of the life blood of communities. As usual we add a sentence or so about the fact that we recognise that supermarkets also offer this contact to many and that they do great things (don’t worry we’re not about to announce a trip to Tesco). But…….. We still believe the smaller guys to be where the real magic happens.

basic 3We have found a real sense of delight in being known to our market and shop keeper friends that often just reminds us that life is good. When at the market the other day the fruit and veg guy came over and said ‘blood oranges over there I know you like them’ Becksie’s heart swelled as that (although a tiny thing) made her feel valued.

Feeling like the person selling you your food gives a stuff about it is really important – to them its not just a commodity, a disposal thing, each item is of great importance! And they know all to well that food is a privilege and not just a commodity.

Sorry to get a bit deep but we’ve really been reminded of the importance of this lately. The added bonus is that we are still saving money. We have got slacker with our weekly shop posts but we needed a rest from this feature’s regularity and it felt like we’d run out of things to say. But……we are still saving money and yes we still think this is a great thing to do. We guess we also ran out of steam to answer the same emails / comments which said ‘you don’t seem to buy enough food’ ‘how can this be cheaper’ ‘it’s not cheaper for me’.

This weeks shop £47.88

This weeks shop £47.88

We guess compared to many we don’t buy much but live below the line proved a little can go a very long way. A chicken can feed us for many a meal. We buy what we need and delight in making it stretch. Delight in being creative and really caring about each and every mouthful. We see food no longer as our right but as a privilege for which we are grateful every day. Knowing those who sell it to us feel the same is worth the odd price rise and made up for in the savings to be had in our new way of shopping.

Ironically our new way of shopping is extremely old fashioned and we conclude those who have gone before us are older and wiser.

As you know we been trying to get a feel for the impact of our year without supermarkets. Every time we get ready to post the results another reply comes in – its unbelievable to see the results and without repeating ourselves we’d like to put another call out to fill in this form if your shopping has changed as a consequence of reading our journey. Then we will reveal how much of an impact this has had.

We’d also like (whilst we are mid rant / slightly gushy post) to say another huge thank you for reading what we write and getting in touch (even the you don’t buy enough food emailers hehe) it means a lot. We also promise to get organised and document a ‘how we use a week’s shopping post’. We know people request this a lot but we always forget to do it until midweek and then having a young family (washing, cleaning etc) get in the way.

basic 1Talking of eeking out a chicken, tonight’s Thursday night tea was leftover chicken, leek and ham pie, homemade chips and Vegetables (with loads of gravy). The pie was made from Sunday’s leftover roast for Tuesday night’s tea (we were joined by Gannie and Poppa) and so technically tonight’s tea was leftover leftovers! basic 6


10 thoughts on “Back to Basics and Thursday Night Tea

  1. I love everything you post, and all your foodie bits. But cannot work out how you manage! I think Neil and I must be terrible spendthrifts. We spend so much in the dreaded Tescos. However, inspired by you, tomorrow we are off to a farm shop, to see what they have, and hopefully make some big decisions and choices. Bit scary. We do cook everything from scratch and I love to bake. Want so much to change our spending and shopping habits. Wish us luck!! Xxx

    • Hi Davina, I just wanted to let you know I felt the same about the amount of food I bought and money spent on it. We are a family of 4 and I cook everything from scratch, bake, don’t waste anything etc. however I was spending around £600 a month on food easily. Since changing to independant shops and the market I have nearly halved the food bill! I can’t believe it myself!! I do make even more than before (bread, soup, pesto sauces) and my planning is meticulous but it’s entirely achievable and hasn’t been that hard either. Good luck!

      • Thankyou Heather, so kind of you to be encouraging. We are going to give this a real go! My husband has taken up breadmaking and loves it. I love the results!! I think my biggest change needs to be the planning bit, and making sure I use up all our leftovers. You and Becksie and many others out there are an inspiration, and I know we can change too. Onward and upward!

    • Aww bless you – you are doing a great job – don’t beat yourself up – remember ‘every little helps’ 😉 oh b@%ger Tesco’s already nicked that slogan 🙂

  2. Sadly, I live in a small US town where we don’t have local shops. We have three supermarkets and a Wal-Mart. I think the experience of going to small local shops would be amazing.

  3. I love this post Becksie. We’re definitely becoming more well-known at Watford Market. A couple of weeks ago the guy running the fruit stall gave me a 1lb bag of mini satsumas for free to take home for the boys. They’re lovely so I gave him the feedback and bought more the following week. I do think he gave me so many for free because he knows we’re shopping with him every week and buying quite alot. The lady on the deli and the butcher always ask after my husband and kids too. A lovely atmosphere to walk around. 🙂

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