Sunday, 4 May 2014

Completing Live Below the Line 2014 and the day after

I can't explain how charged the house felt on Friday evening as we neared our completion of living below the line. We danced round the kitchen, we chatted, we talked, really talked about big important issues. I felt enormously proud of the boys for being compassionate children who really care about others and seem to grasp the bigger picture.

Earlier in the day a heated discussion had broken out on my Facebook page about poverty and healthy eating. Linked but two separate issues, especially when you think there are many people with enough money who still have poor diets. It was following a BBC news article that some people can't afford to eat healthily. It left me feeling deflated for a few hours. It was our last day of living below the line. I was tired, hungry but not wanting to eat, and definitely emotional. It had been cathartic facing some buried memories of my childhood. It is an emotive subject and I understand people believing that it should be possible to eat healthily on a budget, but for people really living in poverty I think it would be exceptionally hard to eat a healthy balanced diet every day in this country. It is not just a question of teaching people to cook healthy food. Choice is extremely restricted when you live in poverty.

I can cook and thought it would be okay living on £1pppd. It wasn't. I tried to remind myself that at least we were eating. With cottonwool head, I wasn't firing on all cylinders for sure. I don't blame people for turning to the wrong sorts of foods. I found it hard, annoying even, planning and working everything out and then cooking it. I didn't enjoy cooking without the luxury of choice and I usually love cooking. I had done a lot of research before signing up for livebelowtheline and in the run up to doing it. There's a lot more to it than "you can buy food cheaply" - actually doing it/living it for those 5 days has opened our eyes even more.

The morning after...  youngest bounded in shortly after 6am, full of beans. I felt groggy. Elated and emotional I hadn't fallen asleep until nearly 2am. We went back to sleep for a while. When we woke again my husband and I both said we felt changed from our experience. We were a bit.... I'll use the word again, emotional. We couldn't help thinking about those who don't have choices.

My husband went down to make us coffee. Nice coffee, not the bitter stuff we'd been drinking through the week. The weekend before LBTL I'd bought smoked salmon to have with scrambled eggs after the challenge. As we all sat down to eat together I wasn't prepared for the guilt we would feel eating it. It was too much, too extravagant. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I bought it. I guess because we often have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on special occasions and I'd thought it would be a fitting first breakfast. It wasn't!

It's now Sunday morning, I think this experience has made us look at how we live and think. I don't think we are wasteful as a family but we can do better and we will. Don't get me wrong with the luxury of choice we will eat what we want to and for that I am extremely grateful.

I'm so glad we did this and delighted that we raised money for Action Against Hunger which is what it was about. We are immensely grateful to our friends and family for being kind and donating. For all their messages of support too. It made it all worthwhile.

Regardless of the circumstances no child should ever go hungry.
You can read more about Action Against Hunger at
and Live Below the Line at

I need re-training in blogging! Pictures and hyperlinks all help!! :)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Live Below the Line 2014 - Day Five

We're essentially there. It's 10 to 11 in the evening and I've popped round to my friend's for a cup of hot water. It's been emotional! :) So happy we've trebled our original target. We're at £600.00 and there are a couple more donations still to go on. People are kind! We've had great support from friends and family with really lovely messages spurring us on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

What we've consumed today:
Breakfast: husband and the boys had porridge, I skipped breakfast.
Lunch: husband and the boys had the last of the flatbreads, last of the chorizo, cheese and carrots. It looked small so I filled some small plastic containers with the value cornflakes. I had meant to make cakes last night... I've found it hard to be motivated about food and cooking this week though. Youngest took an apple for breaktime. I had the two leftover chorizo and cheese croquetas.
Evening meal: We winged it and used some of the leftovers. Youngest had plain spaghetti with grated cheese and cold baked beans (he loves cold baked beans, but not these ones). Eldest, husband and I had the leftover spaghetti with sauce and some grated cheese.
The bonus: Inspired by a post on the Love Food Hate Waste Facebook page I made banana flapjacks. I didn't have half the things needed so with only 4 ingredients they really were a bonus. All leftover, 2 ripe bananas, oats, butter and sugar. They were delicious and a real treat!

Really high spirits this evening, a mixture of laughter, tears and frayed tempers but most of all there was a lot of love and pride. We danced round the kitchen to loud music before dinner. Nothing unusual for a Friday night except the missing alcohol. It has been a roller coaster and I'm looking forward to reflecting on the experience in the days to come.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Live Below the Line 2014 - Day Four

Table talk this evening was a bit crazy... Foods we want to eat. Fish and meat were high up the list. Youngest wants ice cream for breakfast on Saturday and maybe pancakes. Bacon was mentioned, a full English, something simple with a salad. Oddly I would actually like a green smoothie with fresh ginger in it. I never thought I'd say anything like that... EVER! I also want some fresh chillies and to use my spices.

What we consumed today:
Breakfast: Husband and boys: porridge made with milk and water. I had a carrot and one slice of chorizo.
Lunch: Husband had leftover yellow split pea and veg soup with flatbread, boys had flatbreads, chorizo, cheese, carrot and cucumber. I had.... Err. Nothing, but I did make up for it at dinner.
Evening meal: we all had Chorizo and cheese croquetas with homemade oven chips and carrot strips. Another successful meal taste wise. I'll work out the costs and add them at a later date.

We're learning things from this experience and when it's over and we've talked again about it, I'll summarise what I can. I got fairly emotional today when I checked our fundraising page, that's why I ended up skipping lunch. We originally set a team target of £200.00 and it feels brilliant to have surpassed that by a significant amount! All thanks to very kind people making donations. A really big heartfelt thank you!


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