General ramblings, My Make Do and Mend Year

Live Below The Line-Day 1

For those of you wanting to follow our progress as we Live Below The Line, I thought I would update you each day with a rough ‘what we ate’ and the cost. Apologies if this is boring some of you to tears..!


  • porridge made with 50:50 milk and water, with raisins and sliced banana-44p
  • milk for the smalls-20p


  • bananas x 2-8p
  • hobnobs x 4-24p
  • sunshine buns x 2 -with a smee of butter and homemade jam-12p
    Sunshine buns!

    Sunshine buns!

  • milk for the Smalls-20p
  • handful of raisins-15p
  • 1/4 tin of pineapple chunks-5p


  • Egg rolls x 3-35p (2 eggs)
  • Carrot sticks- 5p
  • Apple slices – 24p
  • Yoghurt+rhubarb compote-20p


  • Cheesy potato thing-half of our slightly sprouty 5op potatoes mashed with 2 carrots, on top of cheese sauce and (cooked) frozen veg-£1.67-this made 4 grown up sized servings-hubby and I had one each, the Smalls shared one, and then there was one left for hubby for lunch tomorrow-so cost for the bit we’ve eaten today £1.25
    LBLDay 14
  • Yoghurt with rhubarb (again!)-18p

Total £3.75

It is making me much more aware of how much I take the ‘basics’ like milk, butter and cheese for granted. I weighed them all out for the cheese sauce, which I would never normally do, and then still needed a bit more when making the mash. I don’t think the Smalls have noticed especially, BigSmall certainly hasn’t commented, and he is usually not backwards in coming forwards if he is not happy with something! The things I am missing most are just all the little ‘picky bits’- a square of chocolate here, a stolen contraband sweet there. And I think hubby missed his crisps in his lunch today. But other than that, I think we are doing ok.

One down, four to go.

PS. I have some popcorn kernels in the cupboard-do you think I can make a bowl of popcorn for picking on tonight for 25p..?

Our plan is to donate the remainder of our usual weekly shopping budget to Save The Children, but if anyone would like to contribute to our fund-raising coffers, then you can donate here 🙂

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  • Reply Diana Price December 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Engevita, brewers yeast by marigold, is a fab food, has a cheesy yeasty taste, comes in flakes and boosts things, about £2.35 a tub!
    If you diet like me a godsend, buy cheese slices as calorie controlled.
    These ideas wouldn’t work in this week, are great tho, engevita has lots of vit b’s too.

  • Reply Thrifty Thursday | My Make Do and Mend Year September 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    […] Day 1-saw me making some of Jack Munroe’s fabulous sunshine buns, and a cheesy potato thing for tea […]

  • Reply Live Below the Line-Day 3 | My Make Do and Mend Year May 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    […] as per Day 1- made with 50:50 milk and water, raisins and sliced […]

  • Reply Live Below the Line-Day 2 | My Make Do and Mend Year April 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    […] we survived Day 1 Living Below The […]

  • Reply Katrina Shaw April 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Really well done. You’re inspiring me to try this…so far so good!

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      That’s great news!

  • Reply joelleharris April 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Great work, such an excellent idea. won’t join you this time, but going out now, to pick some nettles from my garden!

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Let me know what your verdict is Joelle..!

  • Reply Heather April 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Well done Jen, 1 day down and 4 to go. Sounds like sterling work and came in under budget. Big thumbs up!

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Heather 🙂

  • Reply KnitNell April 30, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Hi – all sounds good. However I’m going to be a killjoy (!) and say no to popcorn. Not because it’s popcorn but because you mentioned ‘picking on’. I think it is the ‘snack’ culture that is the cause of so many weight and budget problems. Is there any way you can make the popcorn part of a meal Or a BIG treat when you go out somewhere fun with the Smalls? Or is that too meany? Cheers.

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:02 am

      We didn’t have the popcorn in the end. It is just habit, but on the rare occassions we actually get to sit down for half an hour in front of the TV, hubby and I are used to having a little snack! Usually chocolate/cake/biscuit based…Although in our defence, we don’t usually have pudding after tea when the Smalls do. I agree though, ‘mindless eating’ or eating out of habit has probably got a lot to answer for

  • Reply Hazel April 30, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Did you have the popcorn? I reckon you can pop just under 100g for 25p, including the oil and a bit of sugar/salt. That’s quite a lot of popcorn!

    In fact, my kids love it for breakfast, like cereal with milk. Cheaper and better than processed cereal, though you’d have to buy the milk this week, obviously. There’s a scientific experiment you can do by putting a glass of milk and a glass of popcorn together (the popcorn doesn’t displace the liquid) but that’s probably better saved for a non-school day…

    One down, four to go! 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

      We have the kernels. Ran out of time last night to make some, so might ave a go tonight if we are under budget again!

  • Reply clairelewisco April 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    well done Jen and I agree with Vivienne Downes it is much harder when doing this on your own, and I probably be on a higher amount seeing as the cost of food is so much higher in Ireland, but I am sticking to the original plan of £1/€1.19. I also rediscovered Nettle Tea which has massive health benefits and is FREE and I don’t need to put milk in it which is super!

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Nettle tea! Is it nice? How do you make it?

      • Reply Hazel April 30, 2013 at 8:06 am

        Sorry to jump in for Claire, but just in case you pass some nettles today and are overcome by the urge to pick some- just nettles and hot water, with honey to taste if you like (I’m not bothered). Make it as strong as you like, strain and drink. 🙂 It is nice, but I don’t like it too strong.
        It’s traditionally a spring tonic because of all the vitamins and minerals it contains. perfect after a monotonous (seasonal) winter diet.

        Nettles are strongly antihistamine (if you listen to Simon Mayo on Radio 2, James Wong was talking about them last night and how the antihistamine within the nettle is actually the best antidote for nettle stings. You pick some carefully, scrunch and squidge them until they’re a mush and won’t sting again and rub on the stung part) and I try to persuade my eldest to drink it during hayfever season. You can also add some mint or lemon balm leaves to vary the flavour.

        Nettles are actually really, really good for you and very versatile. is my Pinterest board with lots of ideas and recipes. Worth eating even when you’re not a strict budget. 🙂

      • Reply clairelewisco April 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Yes it is lovely extremely good for you and high in iron if you are letting meet slide this week like I am this is perfect! Just google nettle tea to see all the other health benefits. How i prepare it is just gather the nice new tips, with a glove of course!! Wash them well and make sure you pick them from an area that will not have every dog in the village pee on them…yuck! After washing just use either a tea pot or preferably a coffee percolator and add in a good few leaves and boiling water leave like you would a tea bag and let it draw. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. 🙂

        • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

          Challenge may well be finding some that don’t look like they are in a favourite dog wee-ing patch..!

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) April 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    My first day came in bang on £1 ! For one person its harder to find small portions or end up eating same meals. Cereal is expensive so opted to make Bread & Butter pud from 3 slices of Hot Cross Bun Loaf (got for 10p reduced) good start at 17p each b’fast for 3 days :o))

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 6:59 am

      MUCH harder for one person on their own Vivienne. Anyone you can pool resources with? Sounds like you are doing brilliantly though!

  • Reply kneehighmum April 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Keep up the good work – really admire you guys for doing this

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      Thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Anji April 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I think you deserve the popcorn so go for it!

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Thankyou! Just off to suss it out…

  • Reply Fiona@staring at the sea April 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Looks like you did really well. Funnily enough I had an egg sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. I used nutmeg and one tea bag (to start the day) from the store cupboard. So I would say yes use the popcorn and then I won’t be the only cheater!!

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Oh pants-I forgot to change that! I drafted it last night based on what I thought we would have but then changed my mind and we had cheese sauce and veg topped with mash, so I could save the pasta for another day! Thanks for making me notice-have changed it now 🙂

      • Reply Hilary April 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        I wondered why you mentioned mash in the write up as well as pasta, especially as I couldn’t see any in the picture! Well done it looks like you’ve had good food on day 1.

        • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 6:58 am

          Thanks Hilary-sorry about the confusion!

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