I’ve had an action-packed week, compared to my normal pottering around on the school run, interspersed with working away on the computer.
From an annual meeting to a running club and an awards ceremony, I was zipping off all over the place and even (shock horror) did some driving.
Now I need to get baking. Sadly not for me to scoff, but to sell in aid of the Hadleigh Sea Scouts at tomorrow’s Hadleigh Show (post about last year’s show here). I also made sure I bought a couple of adult early-bird tickets to the Hadleigh Show – still available up to 5pm tonight!
So here’s my round up of five frugal things we did this week.
Picked up some freebies at the Co-op meeting
Last Saturday, I headed over to Wherstead to catch up with the East of England Co-op. Unlike other giant supermarkets, the Co-op is actually owned by its members – that means people like you and me, staff, customers, anyone with a Co-op card. I’m a regular customer at our local branch in Hadleigh, and was fascinated to hear how the business is doing. It was also great to meet local producers who are part of the East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally range, and hear about how it has helped small businesses, slashed food miles and poured millions of pounds back into the local economy. I do aim to keep my food shopping bills low, and scour the reduced sections, but I’m still glad to support local businesses when I can.
This year’s meeting was a bit more relaxing than last year, when I stood for election to the board and narrowly missed out. Maybe another time! As part of the meeting, we passed a resolution to continue paying members a 2% dividend. By handing over my Co-op card at the till every time I go shopping, I’ll get back 2% of all my spending as vouchers to cash in or spend at the Co-op.
The frugal aspect was getting a delicious free lunch, trying some samples and carrying off freebies including a Hadleigh Maid walnut whirl, some insanely good Gnaw Chocolate and a bag of Marriage’s flour.
Took the children to Lego club
There’s a brilliant new initiative at our local library, where the Friends of Hadleigh Library group has started a Lego club every other Saturday afternoon.
It only costs £1 a child for two hours from 2pm to 4pm. Both my kids love Lego, so my daughter was delighted to build a Lego vending machine while my son put together a board game with some friends and then played it for the rest of the session. Even better, I could get stuck in too. Next session is on Saturday May 27th, contact the library if you’re keen. Don’t know about the kids, but I’m looking forward to it already.
I reckon it’s always worth checking what’s on offer at your local library, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Apart from being able to borrow books and CDs, they often run low cost activities for children from babies upwards.
Joined a running club for free
Regular readers may remember that I somehow signed up for a half-marathon, after entering a competition in a fit of New Year’s Resolutions enthusiasm. The competition promised not only free entry to the Simplyhealth Great East Run, but also free kit and support with a training programme.
On Monday night, I also discovered that I get free membership of the Jaffa Running Club in Ipswich until the race, which will be a great help in getting fit for less!
I was summoned to the club along with the other four competition winners (waves to Jeff, Paula, Sara and Tony!) for our first training session together. We were invited to meet the coaches, discuss training plans and do a 3km time trial. I felt pretty confident beforehand about covering 3km – after all, I’ve done a few 5km runs after competing Couch to 5K and regularly stagger on for 30 minutes. The big surprise was that we were expected to run 3 laps as a warm up (warm up jogging? Isn’t that the actual running??) and take part in a stretches session straight from the Ministry of Silly Walks, before the timed 7.5 laps.
I had to count my laps particularly carefully as people zoomed round overtaking me. Put it this way, my 21:45 time is hardly going to trouble the Olympic selection committee. Results from recent races were announced at the start of the club meeting, and I discovered that one member had covered 10km in less time than it takes me to run half the distance. Did he catch a bus?
After the timed laps, I gracefully declined the chance to participate in the intervals session. Apart from anything else I had to drive back (yes actual driving, me in a car) and needed someone to show me how to put the headlights on. I am not even joking.
Anyway everyone was really friendly and I am definitely grateful for any and all support in attempting to run four times further than I’ve ever managed before come September.
Dug out a dress for an awards ceremony
So drum roll please – after panicking about what on earth to wear to a work event this week, I was not actually forced to cut holes in a floral duvet cover to create a dress that would fit. Previous post about “how not to start a diet” right here.
Instead, I tried on all options in my wardrobe that could possible be categorised as a cocktail dress (that’s the jogging bottoms out, then).
I ended up wearing this cheerful number which was just fine, and didn’t involve shelling out loads of readies on a flash new frock.
Produced a pie from leftovers
I nearly cracked and had a takeaway after all this excitement, but my husband refused to go out in the rain for fish and chips.
Instead I made a more frugal beef pie from the leftovers from a packet of puff pastry, Sunday’s roast beef and some gravy. It really was incredibly easy. I bunged chopped up beef, gravy and leftover carrots in a dish. Then I floured the work surface, rolled out a rectangle of puff pastry from a packet, draped it over the dish and sliced off excess pastry.
Bung it in the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 to 15 minutes until golden on top and bubbling underneath, and bingo one beef pie. We ate it with leftover mashed potato, broccoli and a good slug of red wine. Cheers.
So now – over to you. Frugal successes to share? Suggestions for top-selling bakes for cake stalls? Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.