After my research last week led me to new realms, such as vegetarianism and veganism, my taste buds were altered. I was experiencing major fruit cravings. The odd apple every so often wasn’t enough to quench my appetite. I needed a serious fruit kick.

I took some of my precious allowance to the produce section of the supermarket and filled my basket. Over the past week, I’ve dramatically increased my fresh fruit intake and my body has responded wonderfully. I have more energy and more readiness to go outside to run. My skin doesn’t look as pale as it once did. And after a day where fruit featured heavily, I felt satiated. This was something I had previously been struggling with; never quite feeling full.


I spent most of January surviving on whatever was cheap at the supermarket. I can see now that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients to remain healthy. I can’t go back to that, not after feeling such benefits. So, I’ve made a decision about increasing my budget. Dramatically. I have doubled my monthly budget to £200.

Of course, this will mean I won’t have a stash available to me after Uni. But, there will still be some left over. And I’ve realised that living now, and living healthily now, is a matter of high importance. My health should come before trying to save money. However, I’m not going to use my increased funds as an excuse to not be frugal. I’m still going to be hunting for bargains to the best of my ability. And this money is marked for fresh, healthy food. Not extras, like books and unnecessary clothes.

£50 a week is the sum I used to live on during first year. It feels apt that my finances have come full circle in this, my final semester at University. The relief I feel confirms to me that this is the right choice.

Defence is the best offence

How delightful it is to be able to return to my blog at long last. Other commitments have kept me away, but I return to you now with gusto!

Christmas preparations have been proceeding harmoniously. I have most of my presents sorted, as well as travel arrangements organised. Even New Year plans have started to take shape. Talking of shape, I’ve decided to take control of my own. This time of year is infamous for gluttony and overindulgence. Instead of waging war with temptation, I am opting for a defensive stance.


In the run up to the festive season, I plan to be the epitome of health. I have removed any lingering junk food from my stores today, most of it being donated to fellow housemates. I still won’t tolerate waste on my path to health! From now until Christmas Day, I will be striving to eat no chocolate, sweets or processed sugar of any kind. I became reliant on the sweet stuff during my hectic assignment time and I truly need to cut back. This is not a declaration of never eating chocolate again (let’s not be silly), but rather taking control of the situation to a more sensible level.

The Christmas holidays have begun, so I now have more time to do more exercise. I have missed running regularly, and will soon establish an exercise routine.

By eating clean and exercising more, I’m hoping to lose a little weight, certainly. But more importantly, I want to adopt a healthier way of life and not crave wrong food as much as I do at the moment. That’s the plan anyways.

Ah me . . .

I was so hoping I wouldn’t have to type out any quick “fly-by” posts, just to keep up with the NaBloPoMo challenge. But alas, here we are.

1) I have spent most of the day with a new short story, in which I question whether looking at the 1950’s with rose-tinted glasses is a good thing or not. The character of Betty Hart (or Rachel Hartley as the case might be) is blossoming beautifully.

2) Gallivanting around your room wearing a headband does constitute as exercise, I promise.

3) I’m going to make dinner now, a different take on cottage pie. That will make a much more coherent post tomorrow.

Better switch off now before an imagined school matron tells me off for breaking curfew! Gosh, I’m definitely in story-writing mode today . . .

The starting line

I noticed last night on Twitter that the first of November signals the beginning of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). This coincides perfectly with my own £116 Challenge for November. Therefore, I will endeavour to post every day for the entire length of November. I do like a good writing challenge.

So, to start at the beginning, which IS a very good place to start, I thought I’d write about what I’ve spent so far. I’ve purchased my train tickets to visit my parents in Glastonbury at Christmas. The tickets arrived this morning actually. I’m very pleased to have my seats books, for my own peace of mind. Plus, buying advanced tickets was a cheaper option too. The tickets set me back £16 for a return journey.

I spent a large proportion of my money (£34.11 to be exact, but we’ll call it £35) on food yesterday. I based my shopping list on my beloved rationing scheme.

  • I bought enough meat to the value of £8 (£2 a week, one month’s supply). This included 500g beef mince (£2), 500g pork mince (£1.99), 375g diced chicken (£2.69) and two chicken leg quarters (£1.15 – all prices from Aldi). I have portioned this all up into freezer bags.
  • I put half a dozen eggs to last the month, which is two more than the rationed amount, but I don’t know of a mythical place where you can buy singular eggs.
  • I bought the allocated amount of fats, bacon, ham, cheese, jam, sweets and sugar to last me the month.
  • I bought Sainsbury’s Basics tea instead of the correct rationed amount, because it would have cost me more to purchase less, if that makes sense? And this is a money saving exercise after all.
  • I also bought store cupboard items in relation to the points scheme, as seen on Frugal in Norfolk’s post. I used all of my 16 points in one go to buy GF pasta, oats, brown rice, syrup and one can of chopped tomatoes.
  • From Aldi, I bought enough fruit and veg to last me this week. I shall be doing a small top-up shop each week to buy fresh produce.

I have set out a meal plan to make sure I’ve got enough food to last me the month – thanks to Excel!

As for today, it has been a no-spend day! Hurrah! Probably a good thing too, as I had a large outlay yesterday. I have spent the day at home, doing a few chores and writing. I didn’t spend a penny to exercise, as I used a YouTube video to do some Zumba. This was my first time trying out Zumba and it really was a lot of fun! And they are plenty of free workout videos on YouTube to keep me busy! As for entertainment, I think iplayer will keep me occupied this evening.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my posts throughout November. I will try my upmost to keep them interesting!

Balance: £65 to last 28 days.

Frugal Fridays #14

For my very first “Frugal Friday”, I featured a round of thrifty items I had purchased from my local charity shops. But with my interest in food growing and my budget shrinking, subsequent posts took a new direction. Basically, I stopped hunting down economical items.

But I have done an awful lot of shopping this week. Thanks to a birthday, my last foreseeable payday and general scrimping throughout October, I had money to spare for a day out shopping with my family yesterday. As wonderful as it was to spend time with my mum and sister, the shopping element of the day was superior. I’m joking of course, but I did happen to find some bargains.

First, a lovely bamboo wood fruit bowl from Tiger, £2.


An adorable biscuit tin that I couldn’t leave behind, Tiger, £2.


New running trainers from Sports Direct store, were £20, bought for £10!


But my most special buy of the week was discovered today, in a shop I had never ventured to before. The shop assistant said it had only been on the shop floor for ten minutes. At such a great value price, I knew it was coming home with me. Ladies and gentlemen, a standing ovation if you please for my £10 best buy of the week, month and possibly, year.



I cannot stop staring at it in wonder. The leather, the shape, the vintage vibe, this doctor’s bag is a dream come true. I’m in love. And that is a clear sign of money well spent.

A healthy lifestyle

Everyone recently seems to be on a constant journey towards “a healthy lifestyle”. As if when they reach the golden gates of this revered place, everything in life will suddenly seem wonderful. But the clue is in the title really. It’s a lifestyle, not a destination.

I’m not here to preach about a saintly life and the sole way to achieve it. Healthy means different things for different people. For me, I feel healthy when I feed my body the right amount of all foods, including the sixth food group; chocolate. In return, my body feels stronger and energized. That’s what healthy means to me.

I don’t wish to wade too far into the debate on the connection between obesity and poverty. That’s not why I’m here. I thought I would just provide one example of how I live a healthy lifestyle, despite my student budget.

This is a typical week’s groceries:


I try to come in under £10 each week, but this time I had the gift of Nectar points so it all came to £8.48. There are certain tricks I’ve picked up since trying to improve my overall health that I think might help others. Firstly, I tend to buy more vegetables than fruit. They’re often cheaper, more versatile and better for you (vitamin-wise) than fruit. Secondly, I can’t afford the best of everything. I’ve made peace with the fact that nothing in my trolley is organic and I’ve moved on. Just because the items you buy are not the “best”, doesn’t mean they’re not a healthy option. Finally, the main rule I try to follow every time I go to the supermarket is to buy what I need and nothing more. If there’s nothing extra in the house, you can’t eat it. It also helps to keep to your allocated budget. There is nothing I can add about meal planning that hasn’t already been perfectly articulated elsewhere. Fail to plan, plan to fail!

As for exercise, I’m pretty low key. But I do feel that people override other benefits of exercise just because they are too focused on losing weight. Exercise is a good thing if you are trying to lose weight or not. Anyways, for my exercise, I run when I want to, because it’s free. My trainers have lasted since my school days where my mum assisted in purchasing things for school, so also free. I bought the jogging bottoms and sports bra in a Sports Direct sale earlier in the year, both for £10. My chosen t-shirt is from Matalan, costing £3. And the headband came from a pack from Primark, £1. I think £14 is the cheapest gym membership ever!


One more thing, there are people luckier than some others in this world. I may not have all of the latest gear, but when someone else does, you can borrow their older model. Being out of date has never bothered me when it comes to gadgets. At least I can still listen to Bruce Springsteen as I pound the pavements!

So that was my round up of what I personally do to try and be healthy. I do this to stay fit, to fight off illness, to live longer and to feel happy when I look in the mirror. All for under £10 a week. Now that’s thrifty.

One week

It has been exactly a week since I returned to my beloved Winchester, after waltzing around Europe for the best part of July. At first, my once familiar world seemed blurred and distant. But, given time and ample amounts of sleep, my domestic side has flourished once more.

I managed to complete all of my unpacking and holiday laundry within 24 hours of returning home. No mean feat, as I had accumulated a fair amount of washing on our adventure. We used washing machines abroad, of course, but everything needed to be refreshed after being stuffed into a rucksack. Then comes the task of finding new homes for the souvenirs you’ve collected on the journey. My new postcards are decorating my postcard wall, and I smile every time they catch my eye.

At the beginning of the week, I batch cooked a large vegetable chilli that kept me going for days. It was brilliant to come home to a bowl of warm goodness, even though I was kept busy with extra hours at work. No room for complaint about that, I know how lucky I am to be working at all.


I also met up with a close friend near the start of the week for lunch. We discussed plans for the future. Who knows where this Storyteller might end up? But I do have my final year of University to get through first . . .

I caught up with my blog reading, including this poignant post from A Girl Called Jack. Like Jack, I aim to spend around £10 a week on my groceries. But I don’t have a young child to look after. Jack is a real inspiration to me and showed me that despite having little myself, I can still share what I have. I put at least one tin into my local food bank. They have a collection trolley inside my local Sainsbury’s, so it couldn’t be easier to donate. I’m so pleased Jack is starting to get the recognition she deserves.


Most importantly, I’ve allowed myself to relax. It took some time for my body to adjust back to a sensible routine. I feel so much better after a few early nights. It just shows what taking care of yourself can do for your outlook on life. It’s a subject I’m very interested in, and my day off so far has consisted of this:


I’m trying to look after myself, mind and body, as best as I can with the budget I have. There will be more posts surrounding this topic this week. For now, I’m going to enjoy my two days off from work and possibly even put pen to paper. That would be my next adventure, albeit a little closer to home. Sounds good to me.


This isn’t a post about fuel prices, mainly because I don’t drive.


This is a post about a workout DVD, a workout called Pump and the negative vibes you get when you attempt to be healthy.

I’m twenty. I have a boyfriend who I like to look good for. I also have a habit on inhaling chocolate, particularly when I’m at work. So from time to time, I need to crack out workout DVDs, do a bit more walking or do some morning yoga. The reaction you get from some people makes you feel like a criminal. “Weirdo” was the scoffing remark I got from one housemate, “why?!” was another.

Maybe this is the reason we are a fat nation. We ridicule when people do attempt to get some form of exercise into their day. It’s not like I’m pushing at them to join in or anything, I’m just doing my own stuff and trying to get fit.


If being healthy, illness-free, energized and happy makes me a “weirdo” then sign me up to the oddball club. What’s the alternative? Yes, exactly, there’s a short sharp shock if ever there was one.