And just like that my running days was over

running 2As you know for a while now we have been asking people to fill in our little questionnaire about whether reading our ramblings has in anyway changed your shopping habits. Every time we went to post the results a further flurry of completed forms came in. To say we are overwhelmed is an understatement! Thank you so much to everyone who got in touch, we are truly amazed and humbled! So here is evidence that you really can changed the world from your living room.

Our living room

Our living room

Here goes:

58 people replied

We calculated the results by asking people to say how much on average they now spend in local shops as opposed to supermarkets and for how many weeks they have been doing it. So an example is if someone replied saying £10 – £12 per week for 30 weeks we took the average £11 and times it by 30 = £330. We then totalled everyone’s results and got our grand total. Obviously this is a) a rough estimate b) a tad flawed as each week the total would go up and this has not been calculated and c) by no means scientific and just for fun (but we can back up the data with names and email addresses). Right enough waffle the total result is £46 ,036!!

As we said we are totally amazed and as always really excited that others are loving shopping in this way too. We can also announce that the winner of our lovely prize is Janice Steele.

However……….. (HUGE DOT DOT DOT DOTS)

cowsToday is a very emotional day.

Today is the end.

No we haven’t been in a supermarket and we aren’t even particularly thinking of going to one but today we just feel it is the end of our year without supermarkets journey. For a while now we’ve known we didn’t really have all that much to say left to say. We knew the end was coming but it was just a matter of time. We have had an absolutely fantastic time, met some wonderful people and done some incredible things. This journey has changed our entire lives and it has shown Becksie that she wants to run her own venture. It has given us so much and we are so very grateful for all of your support. But now it is time for Becksie to concentrate her efforts on Becksie and Lotty as in her heart of hearts she knows this is what she is now meant to be doing. running 4We promise to keep true to who we have become and rest assured local shopping is still VERY much key. We may in time take the odd trip to the supermarket but we make no promises either way. This has been an epic journey, a wonderful voyage of discovery but today just like Forest Gump on the day he just decided to stop running we have decided (with a huge air of sadness yet contentment that this is the right end of the story) that we will end this journey.running 1

In time this journey will disappear from the online world and exist only as hard copy for Lizzie to keep but for a while we’ll leave it in case you want to re-read any bits and pieces / jot any recipes down etc. If you feel you will miss our ramblings you can continue to follow us over on – in fact we would absolutely delighted if you would join us for that journey which is right at the start and very exciting (you could even consider nominating us for a Brilliance in Blogging Award – perhaps the ‘Fresh Voices category’? HINT HINT).

It’s been a pleasure, Thank you all so very much and for the final word we hand over to the wisest of the wise………

Forest Gump

The End

Lizzie keith picAll our love and best wishes for the future

Team Pugh



Hidden in Plain Sight

hidden 5Small people have a very special ability to see and hear the things that as grown ups we very often miss. The beauty of being very close to a child is quite often they let you share a little of this magic. When they do you have two choices. You either get irritated and say ‘yes, yes, I can hear the birds, very good’ and then go about your day. Or……. you can stop, listen and hear the birds!

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

And……. When you do it is truly amazing. You get to experience something wonderful and that is hidden in plain sight. This weekend we trusted Lizzie with the camera in order to capture some of this child like magic.

Taken by Lizzie who loves this phone box and takes us on regular pilgrimages to knock on its door - how many of this lovely creatures do you walk past and not even notice.

Taken by Lizzie who loves this phone box and takes us on regular pilgrimages to knock on its door – how many of these lovely creatures do you walk past and not even notice.

We’d like to share some of her shots with you and some pictures of her going about her weekend. Joy that is hidden in plain sight you know, ordinary miracles that might just make you, like us, take a step back and really really enjoy life. This post also forms part of our year with less – it helps us to remember the simple things all around us so cleverly hidden in plain sight.

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

Taken by Lizzie

Looking at the planes

Looking at the planes

Roast dinner

Roast dinner

Taking Molly the dolly for a walk

Taking Molly the dolly for a walk

Watching the planes - as the planes left trails Lizzie said they were stretching - what a lovely magical thing to think

Watching the planes – as the planes left trails Lizzie said they were stretching – what a lovely magical thing to think. Warning this picture contains pants!!!

Saturday lunch outside as to quote Lizzie 'lovely sunny day - Diddy stay outside'

Saturday lunch outside as to quote Lizzie ‘lovely sunny day – Diddy stay outside’

hidden 10

'Chinos' at the Rookery

‘Chinos’ at the Rookery

We really appreciate all that we have and in the busy buzz of life and setting up Becksie and Lotty (new products on our shop double eeeeek – blantant plug ;)) we are glad we have taken time out to see the world through our lovely little child’s eyes.

A letter to a much older Becksie

Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about old age.

Lizzie and Becksie visit a lady who has become a very dear friend, and a few things and the impending 2nd anniversary of Becksie’s Nana‘s death have really got us thinking. Today Becksie writes a letter to a future self in the hope that it will help her deal with this most difficult of challenges.

Dear older, hopefully more patient and understanding, Becksie.

old becksie 5As I write this your hair is brown, you have a few wrinkles (but not many). You are just 30 and it feels like being 30 has opened a real realisation to you – that you will age and those around you will too. It’s a sad and scary fact but if your sitting here reading this don’t be bitter if your body or mind don’t work so well, be grateful you have the privilege of old age. Many don’t and would love to be sat where you are right now.

old becksie 8I hope you have lived a very happy, colourful and carefree life. I hope sincerely you heeded your lovely Nana’s words to store up many memories. I’m hoping your discovering her words to be great advice. I’m guessing she was right that as you sit there these memories are what you live to replay and remember.old becksie 7

Don’t make things hard for your child Lizzie and any siblings that by this point she has had for many years. She and her team are doing their very very best.old becksie 3 Just like when they were tiny and needed care you were winging it because it was new to you, they too are winging it now. Did you get it all right? No! Did you pick all the right battles? No! Did you bend the truth to make it easy because you loved them dearly and had their best interests at heart? Yes! Don’t be cross with them or those around them, they are doing the best job they know how to do. Thank them and tell they are doing well, your reassurance will still matter. Remember whatever decisions they make, right or wrong, they are doing it for you because they love you. If you feel angry with them do the loving thing and wait  until they are out of the room before you explode.

old becksie 4

Don’t worry though I am not asking you to lose who you are, that stays right until the very end. old becksie 11That’s inside. Your body can get weak or your mind start to get fuzzy but you remain. Remind people of this. If you are able, challenge people talking as if you were uninvolved in you. If you are unable I trust you instilled this notion into your children enough so that they can challenge it on your behalf.

old becksie 6Remember body functions are normal and not to be ashamed of, you’ve been having them a long time and if anyone rolls their eyes when you make a mess remind them what an expert you are at having these body functions. Apologise if you wish but feel no shame!

scones8Put your feet up – rest them on higher ground. Remember how cross you got with your Nana’s refusal to do so. You wanted her to do it to reduce the swelling and relieve the pain. It’s your turn now!

old Becksie 1Eat and drink what the heck you like. You’ve waited a long time for the day where an entire tray of brownies still warm from the oven is ‘ok’ to eat in one go. See there are perks to old age as well.

old becksie 12Get your hair done at every opportunity, paint your nails or demand (kindly) they be painted for you. Have a wash and get dressed every day that you can – even if it means accepting help. Keeping clean and tidy, facing the day in your best will make this better.

old becksie 13

Talk to young people with kindness and grace. Tell them your advice but in the right fashion and at the right moment. You may be old but you can still have a laugh and its amazing how laughter winds back the years.

old becksie 10Go outside (or ask to be taken outside, waiting patiently until someone has time to take you), breath in the air, hear the birds. Close your eyes and be the younger you – the breeze will still feel the same. Go outside at night and look up, the stars will look the same as they do as I’m writing this. No one can change that. Technology will have changed but those stars will be constant.

Write down your story. People need to know. What you’ve done is incredibly important and someone somewhere will be very interested even if its only your grandchildren.

Feel a sense of pride and self congratulation, you did the best possible job that anyone anywhere could have done. Feel no self doubt, you were the right woman for the job of you.old becksie 14

Be at peace with yourself and the world and when it’s time to go do so with courage and not fear. See it as the next big adventure.

All my love

Becksie (aged 30)

Ten Really Important Things

Following on from our recent post, ‘Ten Small Things‘ today we share ten things that we think are really really important, ironically they aren’t things at all!

Laugh with your friends10 things 3

Cuddle your family10 things 4

Wear what you want10 things 5

Drink tea10 things 6

Follow your own path10 things 7

Use your most special things even on the ordinary days10 things 8

Count your blessings10 things 9

Use your imagination10 things 2

Make time to relax 10 things 1

Broaden your mind10 things 10

A few thoughts on Benefits Street

The other night we watched Benefits Street. It made us feel really very sad.

Photo - Birmingham Mail

Photo – Birmingham Mail

Our first reason to feel sad was those tiny folk who are living in this way. The child being put in the porch made us wince. Rice crispies at 1 am, no sleep until 5 am gave us a HUGE pang of sadness. Small people being sworn at – wrong and awful. Small people biking around at 10 pm – a huge concern. This was not easy viewing. We felt sadness and anger.

The young parents, the guy getting a job and the change that occurred – they were really trying. We then felt sad for them. The job looked hard and so awful to not raise even one penny. Then the job went. Desperately sad!

Watching this took Becksie back to her former working life. What Becksie used to do is not really discussed here as it seems a world away from now. Right now she could not return to it as her energy must go to Lizzie but watching this has saddened her. Becksie did a community work degree and after a brief stint doing admin work on a delivery suite (she’s always sort of wanted to be a midwife) she set out on a career journey working with people who were homeless in Birmingham. Becksie knows for certain that homeless can mean so much more than the lack of a physical home. benefit street 4After a few years in a drop-in centre offering ‘social support’ Becksie started working for The Big Issue helping vendors to reach their life goals.

Photo credited to Neville Williams (there is a good story to this photo – Becksie is laughing as a group of Big Issue vendors were across the road making comments about Becksie’s modelling career – fond memories)

Becksie is always somewhat reluctant to mention that she used to work for The Big Issue as The Big Issue is like marmite – you either love it or you hate it. Becksie wanted to work for them as she was fed up of simply ‘handing out goodies’ in a drop in centre and The Big Issue is ‘a hand up not a hand out’. After moving from Birmingham to Oxford Big Issue Becksie left to work for a mental health charity. In hindsight this was a wrong move but it did teach her a lot that does help her on a daily basis. So…… maybe it wasn’t.

Photo credited to Neville Williams

Photo credited to Neville Williams (you never knew Becksie was a ‘model’)

So whats all this musings on Becksie career? Hardly that interesting unless you have particularly strong opinions. But……what Becksie has seen and experienced in her working life has shaped who she now tries to be. There are five things that drop-in centre, The Big Issue and a stint in mental health taught her, we share them now as a reminder to ourselves:

1. Try very very hard not to judge and try to see situations from many angles. This is why watching Benefits Street has sparked this post. This piece of advice is very hard to do. Becksie admits that watching this programme made her angry and think ‘I would never let Lizzie do x, y or z’. But watching it also made her feel desperately sad for those parents as well as those children. If situations can be approached from a non-judgemental starting point things are just better. This is hard as in order to form one’s opinions one has to make judgements based on one’s own experience. Just try. An example: Once Becksie was chatting to a man on the street whose clothes were wet and ripped (in fact she was trying to encourage him to stop begging and start selling The Big Issue). His worldly possessions stashed in a well know supermarket carrier, he smelled of strong, cheap cider. She made an assumption as to how he ended up there. He went on to tell his story and his words still ring in Becksie’s ears. She can still see his face, that bag! In a previous life he was married, he had children, he had an extremely nice house, two cars and he was a very senior manager at the shop ‘who give away these handy luggage bags’! It went wrong. He moved out in order to keep his kids in their own house. He got a flat – the money wasn’t enough, he gave it up to save money. He spent his first night on a bench and washed in Macdonalds. This lifestyle didn’t match his job and quickly it was gone. The street is a cold place, drink became his medicine. Becksie writes this here not for you but for her. Her life now is far from this and she has pushed this to the corners of her mind. But she wants to remember so she can be as non-judgemental as possible – if only to them folks on the television.

See it from all angles

See it from all angles

2. Be grateful for what you have. To quote Forrest Gump ‘that’s all I have to say about that’.

benefit street 5

3. See the beauty in everything. A hot cup of coffee, a hot shower, clean socks, the food in your cupboards.

4. Where you can help do so. This is not a plea to buy a Big Issue or even buy a homeless person coffee, this is not even to do with homeless people. It is to do with everyone! Where you can help do so. Small tiny things. A smile, a nod, a wave, a kind word. Anything. And….. don’t forget to apply this to yourself. Yes sometimes you have got to help yourself.benefit street 7

5. Do your best in everything you do and always (without exception) be yourself. This is very very very hard.

As we said this list is for us but feel free to use it.

And apart from the carrier bag reference above what does this have to do with being supermarket free or even our year with less? The answer? Everything! You see taking time to step back and think and do things our own way has enabled us to process the thoughts above so we can use our past experiences to shape our future. Ok it’s over – we promise our next post will be light and fluffy and contain food!