I know it's heading on towards the end of February, but with birthdays out of the way, I've finally been able to partake in Frugal February.
The first thing I did was find every single bill we had and pay them all, thus eliminating any pretension that we have more money than we really do.
I have also made a concerted effort to avoid any type of retail outlet, removing all temptation to snatch up the latest bargain, which always seems to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
In order to fill my usually consumer motivated days, I've instead been house-bound, sifting and sorting, tossing and filing, re-arranging and consolidating. The satisfaction and clear-headedness that comes with this sort of work is as good as 10 counselling sessions.
I've been ruthless with what I'm throwing out and what's in the boot to take to the Salvos. This exercise makes you mindful of what you drag home to the cave in future. When we first moved into our house we found a pile of old shopping bags in one of the rooms. They'd been there so long that a lot of the bags had disintegrated and looked like a pile of feathers. Within this pile we found Gwennie's haul of past shopping trips, she had a particular penchant for white pants.
Finding her old shopping, all unopened from 15 years before, it was clear that these were not items essential to Gwennie's life. They were excess, something to do, a medication.
But I digress, I sorted my bathroom drawers out and found about 38 half finished bottles of hair products of all sorts (I'm still searching for something that works on my hair). Day creams that were 7/8 finished and the like. I put a huge glass vase on the bathroom cupboard and I've put everything in there that needs to be used up. It's oddly satisfying to smear on the last of the sunscreen from a bottle and toss it in the bin. It genuinely seems like the house is getting bigger.
My frugalness has also extended to the kitchen. Much like my wardrobe, the pantry has a lot of food, but nothing to eat - dried lentils, bottles of tahini, cracked wheat, more varieties of flour than I knew existed (especially considering they're in my own cupboard). The fridge too is fantastically stocked with bottles containing five capers and others with three sun-dried tomatoes.
I've set about cooking, making recipes specifically to use up some of this food. I churned out these for dinner.
It's chicken breast stuffed with philly cheese, s-d tomatoes, olives, parmesan and fetta. It was then going to be elegantly wrapped in filo, but when the pastry was finally thawed I realised it had gone all funky, and the little rolled up chicken breasts were already stuffed, and sat quivering on the kitchen bench, so I had to come up with something.
I got Stephanie Alexander down and looked up puff pastry, but the first line read something like..'this is a very involved process', so I snapped that shut and 'thunk on it'.
My only option was to whizz up some pizza dough and do a calzone type thingy, and it worked a treat. Plus, Mim has something jazzy to put in her lunchbox today.
I served them with a salad made from vegetables the guinea pigs probably would have rejected, but the girls are a pair of salad dodgers anyway.
My car is on the agenda, it looks like a family of six lives in it on any given day. Time for a tart up!