Team Pugh

Ian, Becksie and Lizzie

This is us, we also have two very unproductive chickens (aka – Paul and Barry Chicken, Mr and Mrs Chicken, Rachel and Tamara), and 3 cats (Katie, Jessica and Jake) who are very much in the self sufficent spirit and insist on bringing home all manner of wildlife for us to enjoy! Ian works for St Cross College, Oxford and gets a free three course meal EVERYDAY. Becksie is a ‘matired’ mental health worker and Lizzie is the newest and bestest member of Team Pugh  – she is just starting to learn about the delights of food (current favorites are banana, grapes, apples, pumpkin and toast and marmite).

We used to do most of our shopping in Sainsburys, however, on 5th November we gave up the supermarket shop (it was hard work and overrated anyway with a 6 month old baby; all sorts of issues arise, lost toys, Becksie being rubbish at putting the baby carrier on and facing the trauma of dirty baby seats in trollies)! We will be trying not to waste any food and slash our supermarket budget (and save a million pennies haha)! We will see if its possible for a family of three (plus feeding family and friends along the way) to eat for a year by shopping in a different way – at independent stalls and shops, meeting new people, learning new skills and making adjustments to stick to the rules!

We’d like to say that this challenge has arisen because of our strong ethical objection to the ‘power five’ supermarkets – but we’d be lying (although we do reserve the right to obtain some strong ethical objections once we start to bask in the glory of our success)! We are doing this for a number of reasons, most of which we are yet to decide but here’s five reasons as a starter (future posts will definately expand this list):

1. We enjoy a challenge

2. We love eating good food

3. To be more organised both in time and finance

4. To save money

5. To support our local community and buy food from people who are passionate about it




Paul and Barry Chicken


46 thoughts on “Team Pugh

  1. Good luck to you! We live in a remote village and only hit the grocery stores during the summer months. We do stock up for 10 months once a year. We eat very well! We harvest almost all of our own protein. And we’re learning to make so much on our own.
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

  2. Hi, really interested to come across this. We (family of five, 3 chickens and 3 cats) live in East Dulwich, South East London, where food and shopping are discussed on our local online forum and played out on the “High Street”. I’m really interested in local food production and distribution and have started to tell the story in words and pictures here:

    and here:

    I know you aren’t local to South East London but I would like to “talk” to you in a few months about your experience if that’s OK. By the way, do you know about a fairly extreme version of what you are embarking on called Live Below the Line?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Alec
      Loved looking at your pictures – seems we have quite a bit in common (cats, chickens, all things food). More than happy to chat to you about this experience. I’ve heard about live below the line and have now registered to receive further details – I think its worth a go as it would make for an interesting experience. Just drop us a line when you want to chat. Best wishes to you, yours and your cats and chickens 🙂 We will keep an eye on your pages. Best Wishes Ian and Becksie

  3. What a fantastic idea – very much looking forward to hearing how it goes. I gave them up for Lent a few years back: it was a great few weeks, and I’ll never forget how overwhelming and frankly scary an experience it was when I first went back into one!

  4. Hi,

    You are proving everything I’ve been saying for years. Buying locally is vital, no more buying Thailand chickens, and Dutacon. Good on you both!! I’ve got 5 hens, and just prepping veg plot now. I think supermarkets are ruining our country, farmers are not making enough to keep going, buildings being built for supermarkets are hideous, and the high street is dying. I live in minehead, and we must have a good dozen empty shops in town. I’m still trying to talk my family into not shopping in supermarkets… But in the meantime keep up your amazing work!

    • Thank you for your words of encouragement – it is great to know we are not just rambling! We have been so surprised by how much of an impact going supermarket free has had on us! Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment. All the Best Team Pugh xx

  5. Hi From the East Coast of Yorkshire

    I read the article in the sun today about your endeavour and think its wonderful. After reading it I realise how much I too waste and how I buy for the sake of it and then end up not eating it. My salary is such that I would like to be able to save, but still eat nutrious meals, instead of the convenience food that I tend to rely on. If fact when shopping this evening, I actually only bought what I had put on my list and selected the on offer vegetables (some I have not tried). I know it was still a supermarket (aldi), but baby steps is the way forward for me at the moment. Saying that I did manage to fill my fridge for less than I would normally. I will be watching your blog with interest.

    Kindest regards

    • Hiya
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. We are really please that our story has had an effect on your shopping! We are just a normal family doing an experiment to see if we can save money and so far it seems to be working. Blogging every day is hard but comments like yours really inspire us to keep at it. We hope that you enjoy reading about our adventure (and tell your friends too). Keep in touch.

      All the very best

      Ian, Becksie and Lizzie

  6. What a fabulous idea. When I heard about this through my local paper, Wallingford Herald, I sat down to see if I could shop in town and still get everything without using the supermarkets. At the first run through just mentally walking myself round the shops, I could get about 75% of what I need without touching a supermarket. This has inspired me to see how far I can get. Keep up the good work.

    Dick’s missus.

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  8. Just heard Radio 4 interview. Inspired! £50 for food/week for two people seems very reasonable indeed. My local Sainsbury’s has just got a lot more expensive so Farringdon here I come.

    All the best


    • Thank you – we also have a small human to feed so its actually £50 for 3 people 🙂 local shopping is really working out cheaper for us. Best WIshes Team Pugh

  9. Just come across your blog after listening to Radio 4. We are a family of 3, living in East London, who use a mix of supermarkets and local shops. I am inspired to give this a go now and drop the supermarkets. On the subject of nappies have you considered using real nappies? They are much easier than you might expect, plus cheaper, greener, chemical free. We use them and live in a two bed flat with no outside space or dryer, and I’m happy to ‘chat’ to you if you’re interested. All the best!

    • Thanks for reading. Great that you are considering giving it a go 🙂 Thanks for the offer of info re real nappies but we spent some time researching it before we had our little one and decided that for our first baby we would use disposables – who knows in the future if we had any more team members we might consider it – we do buy the nappies from the local chemist so as ‘bad’ as disposables are at least we are supporting local trade. 🙂

  10. Hi from Canada

    Listening to you on “You and Yours” this morning on my drive in to work (thanks to the magic of TuneIn Radio and a 5 hour time difference) brought me here. My wife and I were talking just yesterday about going “Supermarket Free” and here you are doing just that. Not so many farmers’ markets around here in the winter but now spring is almost here we might be able to follow your lead.

    Thanks for the inspiration

    • Hiya

      Lovely to hear from you and great to know our little voices are being heard around the world. Great that you are thinking of going supermarket free – its really great. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Best Wishes Ian and Becksie

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  12. Great to meet you on Wednesday evening Becksie – love your blog. Definitely inspired me to start shopping more locally and to investigate some of these lovely local discoveries. Fiona

  13. Just stumbled across your blog. I can’t wait to read more. I try to avoid the supermarkets; I’m very lucky to live near to a huge number of independant shops – I have a choice of butchers, green grocers, even old fashioned hardware shops which will sell you a single screw. Having said that there is nowhere that isn’t a chain to buy a tin of beans or shampoo. So I’m looking forward to more reading so I can see how you are managing.

    • Thank you for reading – we are lucky to have found shampoo in our local independent household shop (we also buy loo paper there) and beans at a community shop 3 miles away although we have reduced the tinned food we use and beans are now a treat (sad or what hehe). Best Wishes and thanks for following

  14. Not very timely I’m afraid, they delivered today – but they’re probably delivering to Oxford next week, which I believe they do every month. To shop on a budget is hard if you can only get stuff every 2 months. I am impressed that you are aiming to live within a strict budget as well as avoiding supermarkets.

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  16. Hi, I think it was you I heard talking on Radio Oxford this morning. I love your idea of not shopping in supermarkets, but…..we are a family of 4, myself, hubby and 2 teenage daughters. Hubby is a meat eater and myself and my girls are vegetarian, however one of my daughters has coeliac disease which requires gluten free products. I’m not sure whether this could work for me. Any suggestions please?

    Thanks, Catherine x

    • Hiya, It was indeed me – thank you so much for listening and popping over to read the blog :). I guess my best advice would be to set rules that work for you and even a small shift to local shopping for some things makes a HUGE difference – I’d start with fruit and vegetables from the market and meat from the butcher. Best of luck Best Wishes Becksie xx

    • With all due respect ‘that child’ who is called Elizabeth has an extremely well balanced and healthy diet. She has not had any processed food and eats 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day which are either sourced from the market or often grown by her own grandfather! She has plenty of meat, cheese, pulses and milk. She was also breastfeed until 15 months. Thank you for reading and adding your comments. Best Wishes

  17. Lizzie is the most bonniest, healthiest little girl you could wish to see. She is totally beautiful . I have followed your blog for ages. You are doing a great job. And I work for an upmarket supermarket lol!
    Just ignore this silly person. Best wishes. Xxx

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