Frugal Fridays #21

Out of all possible meal scenarios of one day (elevenses, brunch, supper and midnight snack included), afternoon tea is my favourite. Not only is it an opportunity for cake-based delights and gallons of tea, it’s a chance to use all the delicate and beautiful china I’ve been hoarding collecting. It’s actually quite a thrifty meal, especially if you adhere to the following tips.


Make your own sandwiches with whatever is in the fridge. Shop-bought sandwiches are never up to scratch. Plus, it seems counter-productive to specifically buy ingredients when you already have a selection in the house. The magic comes with how you cut them. I did fingers of cheese and pickle, triangles of raspberry jam and trimmed my cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches with a cutter. The two different breads I used were bought from the reduced section, not that my guest needs to know that!


Make your own biscuits. Yes, my home made gingerbread does look quite rustic, but I was complimented on the flavour. I know scones are more traditional, but you can knock up biscuits with minimal ingredients, thus decreasing the cost. I also quite like the different texture biscuits bring to the table.


If you do buy your cakes, try to get ones on offer. I ran out of time to bake my own, and I’m not entirely confident with gluten-free cake anyway. Luckily, these finger cakes were two packs for £3. Standard cakes are much cheap, and once you add a little garnish (like my raspberries), who would know the difference?!


Afternoon tea is an indulgence, gosh yes, and by no means a necessity. But it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the company of a good friend.

Night Owl: Extravagance at Number Nine

When I first moved to this city, I knew I didn’t want to fall into the eat, sleep, work, repeat rhythm that sucks all of the joy out of life. One of the reasons I am determined to branch out on my own is because it ensures I get to stay geographically close to the people who matter most to me. I went out with my friends on Saturday night, not, as one might expect, to a rowdy nightclub in the centre of town, but instead, to a nearby apartment block, for a dinner party.

Terribly, I did not get one picture of the marvellous spread our hostess laid on for us. She did a wonderful job at catering for my gluten-free needs. There was special bread, houmous, vegetables, roast peppers and sweet potatoes, roast tomatoes, cheeses and plenty more for us all to share. The evening was made complete with flowing wine and this delight:


Our hostess is a talented chef and this pavlova was to die for. I did have seconds and I don’t even care about admitting that. She had foraged for the blackberries that were grown locally and whipped yoghurt into the topping to give it a tang. A wonderful time was had by all who were present.


But after having an evening away from rationed food, I did notice more of a bloating sensation than I have been experiencing lately. It was a treat to have a meal with friends, don’t get me wrong, but I am becoming more and more convinced that rationed food is the way forward. I’ve also lost three pounds in the last week and a half. Now, I do have a fairly active job, but still, I think my shift in diet has played a role in that weight loss. I know I will have other blow-out dinners in the future, but for day to day eating, rationing wins for me.

Night Owl: The Walls Have Voices

An intimate venue, a glass of wine and a bag of Haribo Tangfastic. It’s all very relaxed at the venue for my first poetry performance night. I await the start with bated breath. It’s not an evening I’m used to, but new experiences are wonderful in their uncertainty.

DSCN1229Hurrah for complementary drinks!

            We were introduced to the evening by host Antosh Wojcik, a witty student with clear enthusiasm for his craft. He briefly informed us that each writer would be reading from a different area of the room. The various outposts of the large room worked perfectly with this idea. It became clear that the poets were performing. This was not a boring, monotone reading off the page. Individual voices rose from all corners of the room to immerse us all in delicate verse. The effect of hearing poetry from several different locations was mesmerising. You could hear every word, which is understandably important for poetry. I didn’t know if it was to be a sombre evening, what with poetry being a fairly intimate writing style. My doubts were unjustified as there was laughter in the first few minutes which continued throughout.

I enjoyed the fact that each poem was different and they clearly hadn’t been hurriedly written in order to fit a certain theme. Ideas of entrapment, death and inward questioning seemed to appear in more than one poem, but there was no stark moral being shoved down audience’s throats. I appreciated that. It allowed to me to appreciate the poetry for the craftsmanship and emotion that goes into it. Each poet had a definitive style which kept the whole performance light and interesting.

DSCN1224An upwards view of our venue.

            It surprised me when our host introduced a musical act. I’m not sure music has its place in a poetry performance night, I almost want to keep the siblings separate. Matt Jones has a beautiful voice, but it undeniably interrupts the smooth flow of the poetry. He performed with his guitar from a balcony perch that I couldn’t see due to my positioning. Even my fellow audience members gave up craning their necks to watch, instead opting to stare ahead with a glazed expression. The music is wonderful, but I did not buy a gig ticket.

I wonder if it is the intellectual connotations of poetry that is the reason that I’m relishing the evening. Perhaps. But the poems are making me laugh. I’m with friends. The free glass of white wine is going down a treat. Although our adventure with poetry performance ended at the interval (my companion had an early start), I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. This will not be my last poetry performance night.