Friday, 31 January 2014

Yay ...... we got salmon in Bude!!

Ok so its not a lovely photo but its four pieces of fresh salmon!

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss we found oily fish today!

As usual I'm jumping ahead though.................

After my post yesterday, lots of you lovely readers suggested where I could get oily fish. One of them was the fish shop in Winkleigh open on a Friday. How fantastic .... I had to go to the next village Dolton for the day job so could kill two birds with one stone as it were.

However as you know my life is never simple and due to various factors which included an EHO inspection I didn't get there!

So back to plan A....................

We popped into Bude in a howling gale and horizontal rain and I started to wish that I'd parked in Waitrose, Holsworthy and made a dash for it!

Ha ha ... only kidding! (maybe)

After doing bank type things, first stop was Lily May's shellfish shop ....... although there wasn't much fish due to this diabolical weather there was .... drum roll please ..... salmon!!!! Yay!

'Four slices please Mrs. Fishmonger'

'That's £8.90 please'

Next stop Lansdown Dairy where we purchased loo rolls £1.99 for four and 50 Twinings earl grey teabags £2,99. They also have Trewithen Dairy unsalted butter for £1.69, so once we've finished the village shop butter we'll try this one!

Boots for pears soap £1.19

And then North Coast Wines ..............We spent our pocket money on gin, wine and beer!

We then headed back to Holsworthy ..........

Due to broadband problems tonight consider this part one. I'll post the rest of todays shopping as part two tomorrow!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

We've completed the first month of the challenge!

On Tuesday our fruit and veg order consisted of 1kg clementines, 6 kiwi fruit, 300g black grapes, 500g carrots, garlic and a huge bit of ginger. Total £6.70.
We also finally paid for the butter ........ an eye watering £4.30!
Oh, and the refund for the non delivery of watercress on Friday was £1.56

Keith asked me for his next challenge so tahini paste, split red lentils and long grain brown rice is his mission! Incidently Mr Dynamic in Holsworthy still hadn't replenished the shelves with red lentils or brown rice on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday we were in need of more teabags and milk. Total £5.10

So this week we spent £51.59
For those of you doing the maths and thinking I'm 80p out .... I don't think I mentioned that I bought milk for 80p on Saturday in Bideford!

The over spend is down to having to pay for the two packs of butter which were on tick (whilst Keith sorted out the price!) and in theory would have been paid for out of week three's budget. I'm also not sure why Chris wanted two packs .... we're still eating the first one!

Sooooooooooo we've now completed our first month of no supermarket shopping.

What have we learnt?

If you don't ask you don't get ......... so far everything I've wanted, Keith and Anne at Ye Olde Village Shoppe have sourced for me. Ok, some of it has been eye wateringly pricey but we knew at the out set that the Twinings teabags and the unsalted butter would be the expensive items.

The fruit and veg has been incredibly fresh and more flavoursome than the supermarket and also ripe. ........ no leaving kiwi fruit like bullets in the fruit bowl under bananas hoping they're soften!
There has also been more choice.

Health food shops can be very frustrating!

That making a shopping list for the weeks items means we don't buy more than we need.

Despite living close to the sea, there is a lack of fish available. Since the bastard cancer we have eaten oily fish, in particular salmon at least twice a week. This month we have eaten it once as it was part of the food mountain in the freezer. We need to find some soon, even if its an online order, I need oily fish!

Shopping like this isn't so time consuming.

Are we going to continue?


Facts and figures......................

The budget was £200.
Total spend £164.29
Saving £35.71

Pre supporting local there was no budget and our average weekly bill in Waitrose was £75
so in theory we would have spent around £300. Then there would have been the extras like milk or things that we'd forgotten and had to buy elsewhere.

Its early days but we're pleased with how our challenge is going!

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Rules

Following my post about the split red lentil saga, I had a lot of offers from readers, friends and neighbours to give me some from their cupboards, or to buy and send me some. Others suggested I order them online. I really appreciate these offers but its not in the rules.

The rules?

Yup, we made some rules when the supporting local decision was made.
So here they are....................

To avoid shopping in all supermarkets for 2014 unless:-
a) It is something that we absolutely can't get elsewhere and definitely need.
We're thinking on the lines of any of the food I now include in my diet to keep the bastard cancer at bay!
b) Its for the business and we need to comply with the EHO requirements and can't get it elsewhere.
c) Non homogenised milk for cheese making courses.

Online ordering:-
Only order things online that we would have had to order in the past because they weren't available in the supermarket or elsewhere. e.g green mango powder or pomegranate molasses!
Also included in this is wine ........ Chris is a member of the Wine Society and so he will continue to order from them on occasions!
If something is out of stock in the independent shops, we must wait for it. Ordering online isn't allowed.

Bulk buying:-
I read how someone who also gave up supermarkets a while back, paid £30 to join a cooperative and then bulk bought dried goods such as rice and pasta and had six months worth in the cupboard under the stairs!
We will not bulk buy as this isn't our idea of supporting local.

Borrowing from the neighbours:-
We are still allowed to pop over to the neighbours and borrow something we have run out of  e.g  a lemon. If they borrow from us we can accept the replacement even if its from a supermarket.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

All I want is split red lentils!

Today we had the first Bideford Farmers Market of 2014 and so a great opportunity to pop into the town and pick up the bits we couldn't get yesterday .........................

I don't think I mentioned that crème fraiche had been added to the list so that we can have stroganoff with the mushrooms from yesterdays fruit and veg order!

Well, clearly crème fraiche isn't in demand ........ none to be found. I even went into the co-op, just to see if they had it out of interest ( no to shopping in supermarket rules mean I can look but not buy!!) Nope they didn't have it. So presumably if you want it in Bideford, you've got to go to Morrisons or Asda.

May have to rethink mushroom stroganoff!!

The fruit and veg shop was displaying lovely looking purple sprouting broccoli and sprout tops ....... I couldn't resist so parted with £1.90.

Next stop the health food shop for split red lentils ...........................I can't see them so ask. - please all I want is some red lentils. At least the lady in this shop is alive ...... yes she's got them. She stands on a stall, and rummages on the shelf. No they seem to have sold out. 'They'll be in on Wednesday or Thursday'. She offers me green lentils or puy lentils. I want to scream ....... deja vous from yesterday and Mr. Dynamic. I think I'm in a bad dream.
'There must be a run on them in North Devon' I say, 'I couldn't get them in Holsworthy either'.
'Perhaps there's been something on the TV' she said 'We can't take that sort of thing into account'
Yeah right ...................... you didn't have them when I came in on 10th January after the dentist. I wanted to say but just smiled and left.


All I want is split red lentils.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Starting week 4

Todays shopping

This morning we popped into Holsworthy for a few things from Mole Valley Farmers and also a 1kg bag of green beans for £1.95.

After parking in Waitrose carpark (with no urge to go into the store!) we walked up to the health food shop in the square, Natures Way. I always have the urge to chuck a grenade into the shop to liven things up as the couple in there are less than dynamic. Today was no exception!!
Long grain brown rice, split red lentils, asafoetida, and amchur - green mango powder were on the list. Although they have a wide range of herbs and spices in jars which they weigh out for you, I wasn't too optimistic about the latter two items!

I picked up the last bag of brown rice, couldn't see the red lentils so had to ask Mr Dynamic. No he hadn't any, he must order some as it takes two days for things to come in. Actually you didn't have any last week either and no I don't want green lentils or puy lentils instead, I have  a cupboard of out of date ones thanks! Asafoetida? No he needed to order some and no he hadn't heard of mango powder. To be fair its more an Asian store than rural health food shop item so I'll let him off.
As I paid for the rice I saw it was from Pakistan  and thought how strange as the pack last week was from Italy and I was sure that last week it was £1.46 and this was £1.88. The answer was on the label ...... it was brown basmati rice. As Mr. Dynamic was giving me my change I told him that I'd picked up the wrong rice and wanted long grain brown. No he hadn't got any. He needed to sort his rices out ..............................

There will definitely be a grenade next week if he hasn't done his ordering!!!!

Next stop the village shop.
The fruit and veg order comprised of  6 kiwi fruit, 1 kg clemantines, 350g grapes, 4 red onions, 4 white onions, radicchio, celeriac, 2kg potatoes, 2 courgettes, 250g mushrooms, 4 pak choi, bunch parsley. Purple sprouting broccoli wasn't available and the watercress was missing (we only discovered this when we got home so are due a credit but not sure how much) total £18.98
The expensive teabags, ground coffee, greek yogurt, carrots and firelighters were also purchased for £11.54.
The butter is still on tick!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

That was week three then!!!

On Saturday we had to take Chris laptop to be fixed in Great Torrington. A lovely little town with a good mix of independent shops. It was lashing it down with rain and blowing a gale so not really conducive with wandering. We did however pop into the butchers and pick up 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon for £1.12 to make celeriac and bacon soup. Then dashed across the road to Zanadu, the greengrocers, who are also supplying us with our weekly fruit and veg via our village shop.
Guess what? They sell aduki beans! So red dragon pie was back on the menu!
Chris also wanted leek, potato and sweetcorn soup this week so he chose the largest leek in the world for it. We also got a pack of coriander for the curry we haven't had. Total £3.50

This dry January lark is making us drink far too much tea .......... by Monday we had to have another box of the £4.60 organic Earl Grey and two pints of milk. Still I suppose they do last longer than a bottle of wine in this house!!

Tuesday saw us back at South View stores collecting our latest fruit and veg order costing £10.27.
Oh and the butter is still on tick!

Sooooooooooooooooo this weeks total spend is £45.89

Friday, 17 January 2014

Todays purchases

Todays purchases
Where does the time go? I can't believe we are starting week three of our supporting local challenge!

Today we went into Mole Valley farmers for animal stuff and I found something on my food list - frozen peas ... 1kg for £1.95. Next stop was the health food shop for brown rice, ground cumin and cumin seeds, £2.51 No aduki beans though.
Then back to the village and South View Stores.

Today the fruit and veg order comprised of a large celariac, 2kg potatoes, 1kg carrots, 500g purple sprouting broccoli, 1kg clemantines, 6 russet apples, 6 kiwi fruit and 4 bananas. Sprout tops weren't available.
Also on the list was 3 tins dog meat, firelighters, 3 tins tomatoes (they're still three for £1.25) ground coffee and a pint of milk.

Total cost £21.02

You haven't mentioned the butter I hear you cry! Its in the photo!

Ah the butter ..... when we got there Keith said 'No Tim yet' (Tim being the postman who should be bringing butter!) We had passed his van on our way so decided to hang around and make polite converasation!!! Eventually he turned up with said package. As there was no invoice enclosed we have the butter but haven't paid for it yet!!

Week two

Yesterday was the end of week two ...... here's how we got on.

This week we had to venture out into the big wide world not once but twice!

On Monday the dentist in Bideford was our destination so whilst Chris was being tortured I popped into one of the greengrocers in town and picked up four bananas, a red pepper and a bunch of spring onions. I was also looking for aduki beans as we planned to have red dragon pie during the week, alas the only health food shop I found didn't have them. Annoying to say the least as the pepper was for the same dish.

On Tuesday I had a hospital appointment in Tiverton so afterwards we popped into the town and found some lovely looking purple sprouting broccoli in the pannier market and also bought three potatoes for the lentil shepherds pie which was the replacement meal for the red dragon!

On the way back we popped into the village shop and picked up our fruit and veg order. We also hoped to collect some unsalted butter and Twinings Earl grey tea bags which Keith had ordered for us. Neither was there. The butter was becoming a bit of a saga as we had asked for it on the first day of our supporting local challenge. It didn't arrive............ twice the delivery note said it was out of stock and then on the third delivery the supplier didn't send it. We were getting desperate ........

Its amazing how much butter you can eke out if you don't know when you'll have any more!!! However it finally got eaten yesterday.......................

The teabags were delivered to the shop yesterday. Just in time as we were down to our last six!
I had to pick myself up off the floor after the price came up at £4.60 for fifty. I then noticed they were organic ....... oh well!!

Apparently the butter was being sent next day delivery with Royal Mail ....................

I'm sure you're dying to know how much we spent this week.

Well a total of £34.43

Friday, 10 January 2014

Local produce

Today we went to Ye Olde Village Shoppe, well South View Stores to give it its proper name and collected our ordered fruit and veg and again it looked so lovely that I was loath to unpack it when we got home!! We also bought milk, ground coffee, three tins of dog food and fire lighters. The total shop came to £19.80.

Herbs from Guernsey

Coffee from Porlock

The milk is from a local dairy and although we didn't buy it today but on Wednesday, the greek yogurt is from a local farm. I was surprised but also delighted to find that the fresh parsley and coriander is from Guernsey and the ground coffee is from Porlock, so just over the border in Somerset.

As producers ourselves we want people to support us at markets and food festivals and we likewise support our fellow traders, its just that we've also had a Waitrose habit.
When we made the decision to support local I just assumed that we'd carry on buying at markets and also shop in the village, with the odd visit to the health food shop in town and other independents in places we may find ourselves. It never occured to me that there was so much local produce this close to home.

How blind I've been!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

End of week one!

Once the decision was made to give up supermarket shopping we then had to decide our budget.
Pretty straight forward you would think but when we looked at our weekly spending in Waitrose over the past few months and then the food mountain in the freezer and cupboard there was a debate.

Looking at the figures we also had to take into account that a good £40 was spent on wine and beer, and even on a good week we were forking out £75 on the rest of the shop.

We always have a dry January and so it wouldn't be until February when we had to think about booze again!!! After agreeing that we spend too much on alcohol anyway we decided that if we want to drink it won't come out of the housekeeping in future.

So we came up with a budget of £50 a week.

Its the end of week one ........... how did we do?

Not bad considering it was alien to us!

I did order too many sprout tops (although they will get eaten!), however we emptied (completely ate it all) the fruit bowl before yesterdays order arrived .... something that I can't remember happening before, possibly because a lot of the supermarket fruit has to ripen!

Total spent £32.48

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Kitchen roll and other matters!

After my first post where I mentioned that Kitchen roll and sea salt for the business would be the two things I would probably have to still buy in Waitrose, I got a few suggestion from you lovely people.
Blue paper was one ..... we have tried it before but unfortunately it has a habit of leaving blue bits on the cheese!!!
For the sea salt ... buy from the Cornish sea salt company!
Brilliant idea ......
However before I could get on the blower the 'fantastic shopkeeper', (his words not mine!!!) had made enquiries with his suppliers of both products and is able to get me the salt in 3kg bags when I need it and today he presented me with eight rolls of kitchen paper! Thank you Keith!
I shall now bore you with comparison facts ........
Its 3ply and has 70 sheets per roll, the Waitrose one is 2ply and 55 sheets per roll and as you can see in the photo above it is larger. Although it appears more expensive and I'm sure there is a mathamatical formula using the above information to work it out but as I haven't a maths qualification to my name I'll pass and just see how we get on with it!

In other news ..... the fruit bowl is full again!!
I like this idea of ordering fruit and veg twice a week and everything we've had so far has tasted really good, infact so good that Fridays clementines only lasted three days! The kiwi fruit are ripe and ready to eat so no waiting a week or so before they're ready!
If you haven't seen I've started another blog (yes I know I'm becoming a seriel blogger but hopefully not a bore!!) to run alongside this one. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Ye Olde Village Shoppe

Look at this!
Please indulge me whilst I tell a tale ................

On 14th November 2013 I was quoted in The North Devon Journal after our village of Shebbear was ranked in the top 20 places to bring up a family........

'There are fabulous views of the countryside. There is still a farming community here as well. We are lucky, we have a good shop and doctor's surgery. we have the college and the primary school, so there is a thriving community. We are well off for community facilities'

Oh bloody hell ......... I hadn't banked on my reception in the 'good' village shop that day when I popped in to see if my name was in lights (as it were!!!)

Oh no ... the shop keeper was less than impressed with my choice of adjective for the shop and kept reminding me of the error of my ways over the next few days!!!!
Joking aside Keith and Ann work really hard at running this well stocked shop.

Like most people we've just used it for the papers and the odd thing we've run out of .... oh, and of course booze ...........

'We're not drinking this week............'

Yeah right! ......  and by Wednesday we're desperate......

Thank god for Ye Olde Village Shoppe

If you take the time to look you'll find they use mostly local suppliers and have a wide range of goods.

Yup I've looked and noted incase I need anything I've forgotten whilst in Waitrose and in times of need sent Chris up there for it!

Fast forward to 2nd January 2014.

Chris was dispatched to Ye Olde Village Shoppe for milk, and mentioned that we were giving up supermarkets and were going to shop with them and with other independent traders.

He returned with glad tidings ....... everything we need and those things they don't stock we can order.

In the afternoon we went up with our list of fruit and veg we wished to order for delivery this morning and also picked up other things on the list ...........

I didn't photograph them but will list them now, however won't bore you over the coming year by itemising everything!

Dog food (oh how the girls love this crud when we've run out of the usual stuff)
Tinned tomatoes - 3 tins for £1.25
Large freezer bags
Cling film

The only thing I couldn't get that was on my list was greek yogurt and that was because delivery is Wednesday and we've had a couple of Bank Holidays in the way!!

Today we collected the fruit and veg ....... which include radicchio and sprout tops, both of which I wouldn't have got in Waitrose. It took me a while to take everything out of the box as it looked so beautiful and I didn't want to disturb it ..... no plastic packaging involved (Ok so the grapes were in plastic (its a H&S thing) ... don't split hairs!!)

So far we have spent £21.61

In Waitrose today we would have spent at least £50 .... and thats alot more than just a pot of greek yogurt!


Thursday, 2 January 2014

We've made a decision!

So, here's the thing.....................

Fridays are when we are usually to be found wandering around Waitrose filling a trolley, putting in things from the list and then adding stuff we really don't need that week or can't remember if we need or not.

Good! so that's the shopping sorted ........................

Actually no!

Most weekends we have at least one market where we are trading with other producers selling fantastic local food, and guess what?

Yes, we buy more food.............

None goes to waste I hasten to add ..... I always make meals from scratch, freeze leftovers and ignore use by dates so its rare that anything is binned, however I can't believe how much food we have in the cupboards and the freezer and how it keeps being added to.

For those of you who read my other blog will know how my eating habits have changed since the diagnosis and how I eat eight or nine portions of fruit and veg a day as well as having oily fish several times a week and rarely eat red meat, so the fridge and fruit bowl are always pretty full too, but need replenishing weekly as we certainly get through a huge amount of fruit and veg.

Anyway I'll get to the point in a minute!

We've made a decision ..........

Well, I've made a decision and Chris has agreed to it!!

We are going to give up supermarket shopping!

There!...... I've said it.

 Buying from local independent shops and from our fellow traders is the plan.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

I will just put my cards on the table and say that there are several things that we will still have to get from Waitrose, namely sea salt, kitchen roll, which we use vast quantities of for the business, and local shop stuff isn't absorbent enough,  and non homogenised milk for the cheese making classes. Other than these things for the business I'm confident that we can support local!