About Glenda

I have spent the last 30 years living in the corporate world and now it is time to follow my passion of 'making my own'. This blog is the documentation of that journey. I alternate between the southwest of Western Australia and Perth.

Rants and raves

It still works

This one definitely goes under “Rants and raves” heading  ….

I have mentioned a few times that I watch a lot of soap making YouTube videos – though I am, at last, getting pretty bored with them.

Anyway, there must have been a “How to live frugally” video that popped up in my recommended list.  Soap making does pop up as a way to save money.  (I have no idea why – it is the biggest expense of my retirement.)  The system must have thought, “She likes to make soap, therefore, she must like to live frugally.”  Which, coincidently, is true but I don’t see how YouTube would know that.

Anyway, this video on how to live frugally came on and I started watching it.  The lady in it clearly had gone through a very hard time.  She was saying how she would work out how much vitamin C the kids needed each day.  If they were having broccoli for dinner that night, they wouldn’t get an orange for lunch.  They got half a sandwich, one cookie and, on a non-broccoli day, an orange.  A roast would last three meals, as would a chicken.  She served one slice of meat for each of them and, when the meat was used, she would boil up the bones to get all the goodness out of them and use it with all the scraps for another meal.  It really did sound like she was doing it tough.  But her point was that she and the kids did just fine.  They had a well balanced diet.  Most Americans eat too much.  (She could have added Australians to that.)

So, once I had watched one frugal living video, another came up.  This time, it was a young couple who were giving 10 frugal minimalist family tips.  They were both pretty cute and before long, they were talking away so I let them.  They gave a preamble that stated by not buying these things, it was helping them meet their financial goals.  They didn’t say what their goals were.

The 10 tips were:

1.  They don’t get manicures or pedicures.

2.  She cuts his hair and she only gets her hair cut every six months or so.  (He had very short hair and she had long hair so I do think they were cheating on this one.)

3.  They don’t go to shopping malls (centres) unless they need something, ie, they don’t go on shopping outings.  And they don’t wear designer label clothes but … they do buy top quality clothes as they have to last a while.  They only have 30-40 items of clothing!  BTW, he was wearing an Oakley T-shirt.

4.  The next one was a killer.  They wash their own car.  Horror of horrors.

5.  They cut their own lawn.

6.  They don’t have cable. They save up the shows they want to watch and then subscribe for a month and binge watch.  They do have Netflix and Amazon Prime, though.  Poor babies.

7.  They don’t buy expensive cuts of meat.  They eat mainly chicken breasts and turkey mince.  Mmmmmm?  They have me on this one.  I am not sure why only eating white meat is a money saving device.  They are thinking about having meat free days!

8.  They don’t buy chips, cookies or soda but they do buy nacho chips.

9.  This is my favourite by far.  They don’t have fancy cars.  He has a 2012 Dodge and she has a 2015 Honda.  She bought it as a demo model so it was a bargain.  He wants a “truck” (a 4 wheel drive)  but he can’t get one for the price he wants to pay so he is waiting.

10. They don’t buy expensive, designer brand decorations for the house.

I was already being derisive at point one.  “Who ever knew that by biting my nails, I was being frugal?”,  I asked Maus.   “Who watches this shit?”, I furthered, to which she replied, “Idiots like you.”

Fair point.  🙂

What has the world come to when young people think they are economising because they don’t have a pedicure, they wash their own car and mow their own lawn?

I do applaud the couple.  Clearly, if they previously did all these things and now don’t, then they are saving money.  But to think these are hot tips?  I am still in a state of shock.

Come on, guys.  The only thing on the list I do is get my hair cut.  And, I am not trying to save money.  I am just sensible.    I could tell them how to save money.  Don’t buy takeaway, don’t eat at restaurants, skip Cable, Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Don’t buy that ‘truck” you want and put the money you saved off your mortgage.

I have always lived my life by the motto, “Don’t spend everything you earn”, no matter how much that be.  If you spend everything you earn then you will always have to earn that much to survive.  One day you may find that is not possible but if you have lived by my motto, all will be well.  Resist the temptation to move to that posh suburb, to build a big house, to send your kids to that prestigious school.  You are fine living just as you are.

One of the best tips I ever learned was to “pay yourself first”.  What this means is: have your savings taken out of your pay and deposited directly into a savings account before you get your salary.  If you “save” what is left over, then you will save very little as there will never be much, if anything, left over. 

My dad died when I was very young but he left me with one legacy.  I remember him saying, “Never owe the banks money, Glenda.”  This is not always the best advice but the gist of what he was saying is:

  • don’t buy things like a car or furniture or boat on credit.  If you don’t have the money to pay cash for them, don’t buy them.  When Maus and I first moved in together, we had an old mattress on the floor for a bed and another for a couch.  We had Maus’ mum’s fridge and my sister’s old washing machine.  I think mum gave us a table.  You don’t need a whole house of furniture to start out in life; and 
  • pay off your mortgage ASAP.   The amount of interest you save by paying off your mortgage early will be about 5-10,000 haircuts, depending on the size of your mortgage and how fancy your hair cuts are.

YouTube watch out, here I come 🙂  

Target audience

I must tell you about the stall I had at the Easter weekend market.  I have already told you about the success of the passionfruit but I also sold a moderate amount of soap which WAS, of course, the main reason for the stall.

Have I mentioned I am obsessed with soap YouTube videos?  I am guessing I have.  Well, if you watch more than a few thousand then you will, invariably, come across 50 or 500 that tell you how to start a soap-making business.  One of the tips they give is “know your market”. Continue reading

Sally Wise’s Plum Sauce

 

This year, through some miracle of miracles, the birds left some plums for us.  Whether it was conscious or whether they just missed them, I don’t know.  Of course, as happens with every variety of fruit and vegetable in the garden, they all ripened at once.  There was not a huge amount but certainly more than we would eat.  I put them in the cool room (along with the 1,000 passionfruit) until I could decide what to do with them. We are not big jam eaters so jam was not an option.  We do, however, eat a bit of sauce.  Plum sauce it would be then. Continue reading

Freekeh salad with marinated chicken & pomegranate dressing

Here is another recipe from my current favourite book, Palestine on a Plate, by Joudie Kalla.  I noticed the recipe a while ago and parked it.  Then, the other day, when I was thinking, “What’s for dinner?”, it sprang forth.

It is very simple but it does take about 30 minutes to cook the freekeh so allow yourself sufficient time.

I am a real fan of freekeh but we don’t eat it often enough.  As a consequence, there was a packet in the pantry getting precariously close to its use-by date.  Coincidently, we also had abundant pomegranates, mint, parsley and chives so the recipe was a perfect choice.  There was not much on the shopping list.

The recipe as published (and as set out below) is supposed to feed four.  I guess it just depends on how much chicken you like.  We usually eat one breast between two of us.  I used one large breast and made about a third of the marinade, ie, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of za’atar, etc.  I roughly halved the salad ingredients.  What constitutes “a large bunch of parsley”, “a bunch of chives” and “a bunch of rocket” is anyone’s guess.  As it turned out, the quantities I chose were perfect for us.  The top photo, which was half of what I made, was just right for one.  Work out how much chicken and how much salad you think you will need and adjust the recipe accordingly.

If you like to eat grains (we all should) and haven’t tried freekeh, give it a go.  It is very nice.  I find it  similar to brown rice.  For those who don’t know, freekeh is roasted green wheat grain.

Ingredients:

  • 300g freekeh
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways

Marinade:

  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  •  a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper

Salad:

  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • a bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • a bunch of rocket
  • 2 red chillies, chopped

Dressing:

  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbs* caster sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp salt

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Continue reading