Birthday Blog & Simple Living

I thought I would write about something different today….what living simply means to me.

'Calendula Alley' at my old allotment plot

‘Calendula Alley’ at my old allotment plot

Three years ago this month I wrote my blog for the first time, spurred on by Radio Leicester’s Tony Wadsworth. At this stage I had been on his radio show a few times talking about my allotment plots, cooking from scratch, old fashioned cleaning, preserving my crops etc. etc.

I was originally invited onto his show after sending a text to Radio Leicester during a talk on ‘moneysaving’ – I felt it may help someone if I explained how we saved money in the ‘Thrift’ household.

So here I am nearly four years later and three years’ worth of blog posts down the line.




Right from the start I decided to write about the things that I would want to read about, which is why the ‘Thrift’ family came up with the name ‘Notjustgreenfingers’, as it wasn’t just a blog about my allotment plots.

Originally I was only going to write for one year as I felt this would be enough time to cover everything I wanted to write about without repeating myself and for the first year I wrote a blog post nearly every day.


Lavender Fairy Cakes

Lavender Fairy Cakes


So here I am four years later and as you well know things unfortunately have had to change recently in the ‘Thrift’ household.

The biggest and hardest change was giving up my four allotments at the beginning of the year and incidentally I thought no one would be interested in reading my blog after this.  However you have proved me wrong and thank you so much for your continued support and to all the lovely people that left comments spurring me on to continue writing after my recent blog ‘wobble’ a couple of months ago.

In fact my viewing figures have continued to rise since giving my allotment plots up and I can only think this is because my blog is now even more relevant to people growing in small back gardens as well as those with allotments.


My old allotment

Part of my old allotment plots


At the beginning it was mentioned to me on more than one occasion to make money out of my blog by advertising on it when I had enough people reading it….but I didn’t want to do this. The intention of my blog was purely to show people how we live a simple life by growing fruit and vegetables, cooking from scratch, old fashioned cleaning etc. etc. and I hope you feel I am achieving this as this is so important to me.


My old garden

My old garden

My new kitchen garden

My new kitchen garden


So what now?

I will continue to blog as I enjoy it, but I thought now was a good time to check that we are still living a nice simple life, the way we wanted to.

Chocolate courgette cake

Chocolate courgette cake


So I wrote a list of what ‘simple living’ means to us and this is it:

* Living an unmaterialistic life (not keeping up with the ‘Jones’) and enjoying what we have instead of buying more for the sake of it.

* To reuse and recycle where ever possible.

* To live as frugally as possible and do things for ourselves if we can e.g. the decorating I did this month….in other words ‘living well for less’.

* Grow as much organic fruit and vegetables as possible in a small kitchen garden.

* To use all our garden produce, preserving what doesn’t get eaten straight away.

SAM_2687 SAM_2630

* Clean using old fashioned methods i.e. Vinegar, bi-carb and lemon juice.

* Cook from scratch and continue to have meals together at the table each evening.

* Have a homely house that welcomes everyone.

* Spend lots of family time enjoying ‘cheap’ old fashioned entertainment e.g. board games, picnics, get together’s etc. but to also make sure that my daughters don’t miss out on anything that their friends have – (though they have learnt to wait for cheaper prices or have second hand things).

* Holiday cheaply in the UK

* Slowing down and ‘smelling the roses’ (this is the one thing I do struggle the most with, as I am not very good at slowing down as you know…but I keep trying).

I’m sure there must be some things that I haven’t mentioned, but this is the gist of it.


SAM_2693 SAM_2390


There are things that I still want to do i.e. soap making, candle making, keeping chickens (though this is impossible with my dog at the moment), but Rome wasn’t built in a day and I have lots of time ahead of me.

Simple living started for us when my children were first born through necessity, but it very soon became a way of life (they are now 15 & 17 years old).

The way we live now may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ and it certainly isn’t the ‘norm’ but we like to live this way.  I’m certain there are many people out there that also like to ‘live simply’…’s just a shame we are still in the minority at the moment, but I am convinced that sometime in the future this will change, for the environment and for individual wellbeing.

The wildflower patch at my old allotment plot

The wildflower patch at my old allotment plot


I would love to hear what ‘simple living’ means to you as well….I look forward to your comments.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday as usual. Have a good week!


40 thoughts on “Birthday Blog & Simple Living

  1. Simple living is just more satisfying, whether you need to or not.
    Apart from anything else there is only so much ‘stuff’ one can have.
    I always look forward to your posts, though I don’t comment every week. You would get tired of me!

    Best wishes,
    Angela ( Devon)

  2. I too really enjoy reading your blog, thank you. You have posted an interesting question and I will be thinking over the next few days what the simple life means to me. I do think it is wonderful when anyone finds a way of living which they find satisfying and makes them happy xx

    • It’s good to have a think about things to see if they are working out the way you want them too, isn’t it Sara. You must come back and let us know what it means to you as it’s all so interesting

  3. I am so, so glad you continued writing after the first year. To be honest with you, these past couple of months you have been a life line of mine. I came down with the flue that has been plaguing our valley, and it went straight into my chest, almost causing pneumonia and making it so hard for me to breath I was almost hospitalised. Now, all these weeks later I still have no voice to speak of (har har) and I’m very weak, but your blogs, the stuff you write about, it keeps me going. Because I know I can do it! Not right now, but soon! You have continued to inspire me, and keep me full of plans and ideas, mate. This road I was unwittingly put on would have been a lot harder without you. Thankyou.

    • Oh bless you Mrs Yub…..It’s funny I only said to Mr Thrift a couple weeks ago that you had been quiet lately and I wondered if you were ok. You have been through an awful time….I really hope you have had plenty of people to help you with your house and children? I wish I lived neared to help.

      • my biggest help comes from the children my husbands anxiety has spiked hard core since Ive been ill, so I have needed to keep my wherewithall together to keep things functioning simply and in an organised manner for him. He has a great deal of trouble with ‘other people’ in times like this, choosing to put himself to bed and not come out over saying ‘g’day’ and being pleasant, so sometimes help is not help, if you know what I mean. But the children have been fantastic! Helping me with enough of the everyday stuff for myhusband and I both to carry things on as normal! Love them to bits!

  4. Keep it going , I’m half way between allotment and garden and enjoy your postings having come to gardening at the age of sixty five ! You’ve made a lot of people happy with your blog . Perhaps when you started off you didn’t realise the power of the WWW but it’s exponentially massive and if you stop now you’ll be missed . Thanks again .

    • Oh thank you Frankie and how wonderful starting to grow at 65!…….good on you. That is why it is such a wonderful hobbie to take up as you can do as little or as much as you want to. I do’t think there is a day that goes by when I don’t see something new in my garden….it’s such a wonderful place to be.

    • Well done you Dora….I wish in my younger days I had been more sensible and didn’t spend so much money on what I now see as rubbish…..I suppose we live and learn. I am trying so hard to teach my children to live simply too and I am so hoping that when they are adults they will remember some of the things we have taught them as they were growing up

  5. Great to receive your blog. One question, please: why are our corgettes not growing strong fruits but seem after growing about 2 inches, to rot still when small?

    • Hi Gavin and thanks for reading my blog. Sometimes when courgettes are young plants they cant sustain the growing fruit and they also don’t get pollinated and the little tiny courgette behind the female flower will rot. Don’t worry as soon this will stop happening as the plants get stronger and as the weather gets warmer the pollinating insects will come…..and soon you will have loads of courgettes.

      Hope this helps

  6. We also cook from scratch and I bake by hand all our own bread – that’s despite the fact I work full time and have a 3 year old in the house. This is because we too needed to save money a few years ago but even though we could now buy bread we don’t as my son loves the taste of “mummy bread” and hates shop bread. I hate it when people say there isn’t time to cook but they have plenty of time for TV! It’s a matter of enjoying simple low cost delicious good that quite literally doesn’t cost the earth. Tomorrow we plan to cook all from either our garden or from foraging for mushrooms. We make it a fun event too and at the same time my son learns where his food comes from!

  7. I don’t think of my life in terms of simple living – ‘simple’ might be a misnomer, considering slobbing in front of the TV might be ‘simple’ in a different way (or simpler, in fact).

    Since I went part time in 2012 (there’s just me with my daughter), I’ve found the challenge of finding new ways to save money (as well as the planet) quite fun. Even though my garden is smaller than yours, we are self-sufficient in a few things (if you live within the seasons) and I recently finally started shopping more regularly in charity shops. Previously, the default position was main high street shops, but now it feels more and more surreal shopping in this way.

    The most difficult thing to reduce is the car, as in order to find people on my wavelength (and accept that I will be bringing my daughter along) a car makes things much easier. On the other hand, we did recently buy bikes (of the bicycle kind), so for local journeys we are trying to use them instead of the car, where possible. I just wish where I lived wasn’t so hilly. And we need bicycle locks!

    • Well done you Helen, especially with the car. I too spent money like water on the high street and yet now I spend as little as possible and when I do I love buying 2nd hand things….I find the challenge fun and so rewarding too!

      • I do have further to go as far as the car is concerned but that is a challenge to think about!

        Good luck with all you do 🙂

  8. dear mrs thrift,
    a wonderful post. i cook from scratch and bake my bread,cookies and cakes.i made jam and jelly with the fuits from my little garden. i knitt scarves,hats ,socks,disclothes and more for my family. i mend. i ride my bike. i made candles. i buy the most of my clothes second hand.i reuse and recycle
    i grow so much as possible in my tiny garden.
    i wish you and your family a lovely week,
    heartly wishes regina

  9. Hi Mrs. Thrift, Keep up the good work. Im nearer 80 than70 now and am in the process of downsizing from my self-build green home. Suppose I’m an ancient hippy still but finally have to admit my hands suffer from secaturs, fruit picking, watering etc. Found it incredibly difficult to find buyers for my productive garden as everyone seems to want a lawn with shrubs instead of veg, poly and frog pond.
    Now to live life in a smaller style and still see what I can do despite being literally I can’t even pod peas now having grown them….
    I think your small scale system will help me to maximise my small garden plot to grow what I can still manage.

  10. Oh I do wish i lived near enough to come and help you….do you have family to help you out?

    You are so right that people just want a lawn to mow or low maintenance pepples now a days in their back gardens….new houses reflect this as the back gardens in new houses are so small…..people miss out so much these days because they are racing at one hundred miles an hour to do mostly pointless activities like shopping for ‘must have’ items that get thrown out within a few months or they are constantly staring at social media to compare themselves to other people….it is such a shame, but i feel truely blessed to have experienced what I have in living the way I do and I bet you do too

  11. You have a wonderful blog and i do so look forward to fridays when you post, tonight your list is just like mine, i think that simply living is becoming the norm and more people are turning to this way of life, out of neccessity or life choice, its an amazing way to live. Have a great week.

  12. Just a heads up to say thank you for another interesting post.Having brought up 3 children (now having remarried & had another child at the age of 45)as a single parent I decided that cooking carefully everyday ,using my own homegrown things when available & camping in this country to give them a holiday are the things that mattered most & that we had fun doing it! We had parents & my Grandmother who lived through the war (& lived all together with us)so we had good examples of making do & mending ! I hope I’ve carried on doing so as my own children got older & moved on with their lives. Minimal impact on our beautiful planet is another bonus that makes me feel good!
    Your garden’s looking beautiful -I cant believe how much you’ve grown to eat already !

    • I’m quite amazed too, but hopefully I will have more to harvest over the coming weeks. I think you should be proud of yourself Carriet as you have achieved so much and I’m absolutely sure your children will benefit from it and have such lovely memories to tell their own children when they are older

  13. Mrs Thrift i absolutely love, love, love, your blog & would be so very sad if you decided to stop writing about your life. It reminds me of that wonderful sitcom from the 1970’s ‘The good life’ with Tom & Barbara & their stuffy neighbours Margo & Gerry. I remember scouring the charity shops back in the day when i was a teenager & buying some wonderful clothes for very little money much to my mother’s disgust bless her. Now i’m no longer a teenager but a daughter, wife, mother & grandmother in her 50’s who is trying to install the simple life into her beloved grandchildren. When my eldest grandson Theo who has just turned 5 said the other day, that his other nanny ‘always’ buys them something ‘every’ time she visits & why didn’t i do the same? I replied, I do bring you something every time i visit & that is i bring you my time, my love, my hugs, my kisses & they are priceless! With that he ran & flung himself into my arms and shouted & we love you too nanny – always. These times are so precious & we never get them back, life is not a rehearsal this is it. Mrs Thrift what you & your family are doing is wonderful & don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Looking forward to your next blog my dear, much love Sharon XX

    • Oh Sharon that is beautiful to hear and you are so so right…..’time’ is something that parents don’t seem to give these days and I feel a lot of parents feel guilty about this and over-compensate with gifts, I feel it is such a shame.

      I am so glad you enjoy my blog and yes I loved the ‘Good Life’…..we were like Margo and Gerry years ago and now we are more like Tom and Barbara lol….how things change!

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