Friday, 26 January 2018

Thrifty tip - Set yourself a monthly cash spending limit.

I didn't choose the thrift life.  The thrift life chose me.  Because I don't have any money.  Well, OK I have more than enough pennies to meet my needs, but only if I'm clever and don't spend it all on shiny things.  I'm not an expert, but my single mum raised me thrifty, and  now it's my way of life so I'm sharing some of the things I do that help me save money and live a nice life.  

This year I'm setting myself a monthly cash budget for day to day spending.  I find it really easy to wave my debit card about without thinking about what I'm buying, so I give myself a limited amount of cash to spend each month, and once it's gone it's gone. The cash budget is only for small daily purchases, like lunches, snacks, charity shopping, cheap takeaways or dinner at 'Spoons, and it's meant to stop me frittering all my money away.  Bigger purchases, big supermarket shops and outings aren't included in my cash budget.

Thrifty tip - Set yourself a monthly cash spending limit. From UK thrifty money saving blogger #thriftytip #thriftlife #moneysaving #yearofsaving

I started with a £20 cash budget, but then I found an extra £20 while I was decluttering, so my monthly budget became £40!  Last year I set myself a cash budget of £20 a week, but I have loads of things to save for this year so I'd like to spend as little as possible.

I spent my cash on, 

£2.50 on chip shop chips
£6 on a dress, 5 plates and a Hornsea spice pot from the charity shop
£9 on a top up shop from Morrisons (including a plant!) 
£5 on breakfast out with my colleagues
The rest went on snacks, some vinegar and bicarb for cleaning and some fresh fruit and veg on the market.

To give you an idea of what else I spent during the month, online and on my card, I spent about £40 in total on some second hand books and CDs, organic seeds for the garden, my prescription and medicine and a case for my new phone.  I spent £25 on shopping in Aldi which I didn't count as a grocery shop because it was mostly treats! 

I spent nothing really on going out because I've had a chest infection and my ribs hurt, but I have done some free things like went round my mum's house, visited my nieces at my mum's house and we went to my newest neices Christening (Joe paid for the taxi and present!).  

So my cash and card total for the month was around £100.  I'm pretty happy with that, and I managed to save nearly £150 to put towards house renovations.

Do you have any ways of saving money on the little daily things that I should know about?

Friday, 12 January 2018

Easy green actions and articles.

Hello!   Start the year off right with some easy online activism and some articles that show that not everything is bad!

picture via

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition, asking the government to find a solution to our plastic problem

This Guardian article says supermarkets should be the ones paying for plastic recycling, and I agree! 

And sign this petition calling for a stop to the UK's ivory trade.  

picture via

Sad news friends, glitter is a micro plastic and it's been wreaking havoc on the environment.  Wendy from Moral Fibres has found some eco friendly glitter alternatives for us though.  

Talking of shiny things, read Vegan Life Magazine's article on the real cost of diamond mining

Talking of expensive things, a wild truffle has been found growing in an urban roof top garden in Paris! 

For example, if we’d like to reduce our rubbish or plastic-waste in 2018, declaring that we’ll “be zero waste” is a huge step. It sets a high (and possibly unrealistic) expectation of ourselves, adds unnecessary pressure and can feel overwhelming before it’s even begun.
That’s not a recipe for a fun ride.
Rather than make grandiose goals, try thinking about the small steps that need to be taken. Break it down into things that you can start on straightaway. You will start making progress, and that will give you the confidence to take the next step when you’re ready.                          Words via
If you're looing for new year's resolutions how about these totally achievable micro actions to cut down waste from Treading my own Path. 
Picture via NT Times. 

The NY Times has also published 3 easy new year's resolutions that can help fight climate change

And here's some sensible life advice for the new year from Pip Lincolne.  

And if you're trying out a vegan diet or lifestyle for Veganuary don't forget to check out my vegan tips, and my yummy vegan recipes and product reviews

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Charity shopping.

I had one trip the charity shops on the way home, and came home with all of this (plus a dress, that was in the wash!),

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

My mum's friend gave me her copies of the Terence Conran House Books ages ago and I sent them to the charity shop when I moved house.  Which I regretted.  They have amazing retro interiors photos in.   I bought an edition of The House Book for £1 from the library book sale, then picked up an earlier edition, and a copy of Plants at Home second hand online too.
Terence Conran's The House Books, and Plants at Home, £1 from library book sale, and about £3 each online.  

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

You can't tell from this photo, but this is a stack of 5 (FIVE!) Kiln Craft Baccus plates.  Which is my absolute favourite make and design of 1970's plates.  I couldn't resist them!
Kiln Craft Baccus plates, £2.50, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

This Hornsea Saffron pepper shaker pot came with an extra special free gift, a load of gross old white pepper in the bottom!
Hornsea Saffron pepper pot, 50p, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

I'll admit I can't remember when or where I bought this, but it was definitely from a charity shop, and it's super cute.  The pale blue bits of glaze are raised so it's lovely and texture-y.
Plant pot, can't have been more than a pound, from one of the local charity shops! 

Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?

P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  

Friday, 5 January 2018

Tips and resources for new vegans.

Tips and resources for beginner vegans. Just in time for Veganuary.  By UK vegan blogger #vegan #veganuary #veganblogger #ukvegan #vegan

Are you taking part in Veganuary this year?

(Can you manage to say Veganuary without it sounding like vagina-ry?  Because I certainly can't!)

Veganary is here, 100,000 people have signed up to try veganism for a month, my 11 year veganiversary is almost here, and there's never a better time than the present to explore the concept of eating a little less meat and dairy to help your health, the environment and our animal friends.

Here are some nice resources I actually use and find really handy,  

Websites for vegan support and info.

The official Veganuary website has so much information, you can even click for a free online vegan starter kit

I love The Vegan Womble's website, for really, really extensive lists of vegan products available in supermarkets and highstreet stores.  Check out their vegan product lists to see all the yummy things you can still eat. 

The Vegan Society have loads of online resources, and a 30 day vegan pledge you can sign up to, anytime, for support and information while trying out veganism.  


My food shopping pretty much all comes from supermarkets and my organic veg box, there's no need to visit health food or specialist shops for vegan food anymore!  If you shop online you can type 'vegan' into the search box on the website of your supermarket of choice (eg. Morrisons) and all sorts of things will pop up.  If you're shopping in store you'll need to get real good at reading labels.  Either way check out this accidentally vegan account on Instagram for lots of inspiration.  

My staple vegan shopping items include Pure dairy free olive spread, Violife vegan cheese, Linda McCartney sausages, sausage rolls, vegan scampi and vegetarian burgers, Fry's chicken nuggets, Quorn vegan hot and spicy burgers, and for ice cream Ben and Jerry's vegan chocolate fudge brownie or Booja Booja hunky punky chocolate.  My favourite chocolate is Moo Free, Lindt 70% dark chocolate and Cadbury's Bournville, Tesco's own brand vegan white chocolate is really nice too.  

If you do want to find something special I like Ethical Superstore, The Vegan Kind and Vegan Store

Books and magazines. 

Vegan Life Magazine brings you monthly articles and recipes, and even a vegan agony uncle page - you can subscribe here.  

My favourite vegan cook books are Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson and River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  To be honest though I usually just find recipes online, my favourite is Jamie Oliver's vegan chocolate brownie recipe, it's to die for and super easy to make.  

And if you want a fiction book that'll make you never want to eat eggs again then read The Hen Who Dreamed she could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang.  

Eating out.

Trip Advisor (just make sure you tick 'vegan options' under dietary restrictions) or Happy Cow are pretty good shouts for checking out vegan restaurants and cafes.

So many chain restaurants are really vegan friendly now, I like eating at Wetherspoons (onion bhajis and chips!), Las Iguanas (mushroom fajitas and chips!), Loungers (vegan all day breakfast!), Zizzi (pizza!), Pizza Express (pizza!) and Handmade Burger Company (falafel burger!) but there's a full list of vegan friendly chain restaurants provided by Peta.    

If you're trying out a vegan diet or lifestyle during January (or anytime!) good luck, enjoy it and check out my vegan posts for lots of recipes and ideas.  

Disclosure - I receive a free digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine, in return for giving them a shout out.  I only work with brands I like and all opinions are my own.