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!! :)

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