Tag Archive | Living a simple life

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’…..it’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!


A Blog ‘Wobble’……

This week I have had a little ‘blog wobble’ and I have been wondering if people still enjoy reading my blog now that I don’t have my four allotments.

My allotment

My allotment


A long time ago when I first wrote my ‘about‘ page I said:

“I learnt my frugal, thrifty ways through necessity and the desire to make sure my family do not feel deprived in anyway”. 

But how did it all begin?…..


I had a good career, a big house, a nice car, etc……but looking back now I can see that none of this made me happy.

I met ‘Mr Thrift’ and we started a family and I gave up work to look after our children.  Money was so tight and we were always in debt.  We realised that we had to make changes to the way we lived so I could continue to stay at home.

SAM_6588 SAM_3448

Our lives graually changed completely and without realising it we began living a much simpler life than we did before.  Previously my friends would call me the ‘packet mix queen’, but gradually I learnt to make meals from scratch and bake cakes, biscuits and even bread…..and amazingly they were actually nicer than shop bought equivalents.

SAM_0924 SAM_0919 SAM_3677

I began shopping differently too.  Every single item that was put into my shopping trolley was needed for the meals I had planned and absolutely nothing was wasted.  If I did have the odd thing left over that none us wanted to eat, then it was used in a different way e.g. over ripe bananas were used in banana cake.  I even made ‘peanut butter’ biscuits once that were delicious and dissappeared in minutes, but the jar of peanut butter had stood for months in my pantry!


I then began cleaning using ‘old fashioned’ cleaning methods using bicarb, white vinegar and lemon juice and getting the same results as shop bought alternatives which were so much more expensive and not so good for the environment.  I also began using homemade laundry liquid and I can honestly say that my skin has been better for it (I suffered for years with allergies from detergents).

SAM_0683 SAM_0686

And then the biggest change of all came ten years ago when I took on my first allotment and we were amazed by how different the fruit and vegetables tasted compared with the supermarkets.  This led to a total of four allotments which I absolutely loved and by growing our own fruit and vegetables I found we saved so much money.


What we didn’t realise in the beginning was that by simplifying our life over the years we have changed so much in ourselves….we began to stop wanting ‘material things’ just to keep up the ‘Jones’ and started to enjoy the more simple pleasures of life.

I now feel very priviledged to have lived this way and had the chance to connect with nature and the seasons on my allotment plots.



So why did I write a blog?

Nearly eighteen years ago when my first daughter was born, everyone that I knew worked. I had no one to show me how to cook, grow vegetables, clean or save money in general and I spent hours and hours learning the hard way…..and this was the main reason I decided to write my blog.  I was hoping that I could convince people that these things are actually easy to do and yet so rewarding, not to mention better for the environment. 

From the beginning I decided I didn’t want to make any profit from advertising on my blog, as this is not the purpose of it and I still feel the same (though I do know that wordpress advertise sometimes, which is out of my control).  My blog is about ‘simple living’ and I hope it reflects this.

I am really hoping that I haven’t lost any readers now I have given up my four allotments and in the future I want to share the benefits of growing vegetables right outside the back door in a smaller space.  I won’t say I don’t miss my allotments, as I do….but circumstances dictated that change was necessary and I have embraced it.


My garden before:


My new kitchen garden today:


IMG_2429 IMG_2428


“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

Eckhart Tolle


I am certainly beginning to see some benefits of my new kitchen garden at home, but I will write about it another time.


So I really hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time….have a good weekend!

Radio Leicester And A Happy New Year

Just a quick post to say I was on Radio Leicester yesterday if anyone fancies having a listen.

I also got to meet Rebecca Bryers who works behind the scenes, which was lovely as I have spoken to her many times but never met her.

I took in my Microwave Chocolate Sponge, which is so so quick and easy to make and it’s actually the most looked at recipe on my blog (you can find the recipe here).  It also costs only £1.05 to make, which is an added bonus.

Ed Stagg (another radio Leicester presenter) also joined them for a fun taste test.

You can hear the interview here  (it starts at approximately 2 hours and 7 minutes into the program).



#### Don’t forget I will be back on Friday 10th January 2013 ####

At New Year I think about what I would like to do or change over the coming year.  I realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day and habits take at least 28 days to break (or so they say).

I often read comments on blogs where people say they would like to live a more simple life by cooking from scratch, gardening etc. etc. but just don’t know where to start.  If you are one of these people reading this today, then my suggestion to you is to start with a cup of coffee and read about some of the things that you think would add to a more simple life (everyone of us is different and there are no rights or wrongs).  Pick one or two things that appeal to you and have a go.  At first it will seem like a lot of effort, but soon it becomes second nature and you will enjoy it.

I now live a simple life, without the need to compare myself with the ‘Jones’ anymore and I can honestly say I love my life today and I feel so blessed to live the way I do.



Thank you for your continued support over the last year.  I especially love to hear your views and comments, so please keep them coming.

I hope you all have a Happy and Content New Year!