Live Below the Line Day 5 – calculations and eking out odds and ends

The final day doing Live Below the Line is a funny day – you’re
so close to the finishing line it sometimes comes as a surprise to still be sticking to £1 a day for food.

Great relief all round to get to bedtime.

BREAKFAST – Oat pancakes
with yogurt, pineapple and syrup, 18p.

Really delicious.

Rather than the planned porridge, I used up the remaining
oat pancake batter from yesterday.

The batter had thickened overnight, so I mixed in an extra
50ml milk to make it runnier, and cooked three small pancakes.

After my accidental pineapple toffee production yesterday I
abandoned any attempt to reduce the syrup from pineapple tin, and just spooned
some over each pancake, before topping them with a dollop of natural yogurt and
a few of the remaining pineapple chunks.

Weird pineapple toffee. Not delicious.

The pancakes genuinely good to eat, although I could happily have
eaten more.

LUNCH – Egg sandwich
with tomato and vegetable soup, 37p

What do we think of the lighting on this soup & sandwich combo? Too much?

I was so busy this morning that I didn’t eat my lunch until
about 2pm, by which point I was more than ready for it.

Rather than attempt an omelette with a single egg, I boiled
it to make an egg sandwich, complete with last scrapings of yogurt cream cheese
as a substitute for the butter or mayonnaise I couldn’t afford.

I used the little pot of 80g tinned tomatoes hoarded from
Day 1 as a base for vegetable soup, chucking in a scant 120g of frozen mixed
vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas and sweetcorn), 450ml water and a
chicken stock cube. 

It looked pretty watery so I put in 10g oats for luck,
hoping it might thicken the soup in a similar way to potato, rice or pearl

After 15 minutes or so boiling away I zizzed the soup mix
with a handblender and it tasted distinctly better than expected, especially
with a decent dose of pepper.

SNACK – Yogurt and
pineapple, 7p

When you’re hungry, you forget to make it more photogenic by putting the yogurt in first.

Post school run the last pineapple chunks and yogurt didn’t
stand a chance. They almost didn’t make it as far as a photo.

DINNER – Kidney bean
& sweetcorn chilli with rice and carrots, 34p

Good chilli, soggy rice, blah carrots. Still ate it all.

Dinner was the other portion of the veggie chilli from Day
1, resurrected from the freezer. When supplies are limited, it’s scary to
consider the prospect of food going off and having to be thrown away uneaten.

I boiled up the few last carrots, laboriously separated from
the bag of frozen mixed vegetables at the start, and some rice.

The chilli was good, but I over-cooked the rice so it was a
bit soggy. Boiled frozen carrots were as uninspiring as ever, but it felt like
a nod towards health and I cleared the plate.

SNACK – Toast and
marmalade, 4p

Toast and marmalade. Paddington would be proud.

Late at night, tired after updating this blog and the
limitations of the previous five days, I ate my final food on Live Below the
Line: the last crust of bread with some marmalade.

I’d like to think Paddington would be proud, if a fictional
bear from Peru ever considered campaigning on issues about global food poverty.


One bonus of the limited food left was that my meal options
were very clear, so I could get on with my day without food decisions flying
around in my head.

However, with no need to stretch the remaining supplies any
further, I did check the costing obsessively so I could eat an extra snack
without blowing the £1 a day budget. It is no accident that my food costs for
the fifth and final day of Live Below the Line come to £1 exactly.

I am immensely relieved to have completed Live Below the
Line, but it doesn’t seem a cause for celebration. Friends ask whether I’m
going to treat myself to an amazing meal, but all I really want right now is a
cup of tea and a whole banana, all to myself.

For me, due to an accident of birth, feeding myself on £1 a
day is temporary.

For nearly 20% of the global population, living in extreme
poverty is their reality, every single day.

If you are able to
donate something – anything – to UNICEF, it can make a real difference to
keeping children worldwide safe, fed and healthy, including UNICEF’s current
work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal.

Here’s the link to my
fundraising page:


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  1. 1st May 2015 / 10:21 am

    Well done 🙂

    I'm on day 4, tomorrow night will be my finishing line. I can't wait !!

    • 1st May 2015 / 10:37 am

      Hang on in there, you're so close! What are you missing the most?

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    • 5th May 2015 / 10:15 am


      I would love the freedom to rummage through my cupboards and freezers and pick exactly what I fancy to eat.

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