Tag Archives: groceries

the basic range is just as good as own brand

25 Nov

london 5am 4C dark outside. saturday 2017

i buy the basic range as much as possible, instead of the supermarkets own brand products. i have long suspected they are similar quality. today i read this article saying it is so. it is not surprising to me, but now they have proof of it and this article has revealed it,  i think the supermarkets will now remove their basic products.

the branding of the basic products and putting them in packages  that dont look nice is to deter the status conscious shopper make them think it is inferior;  and so make them too ashamed to be seen with those products when they check out at the till. but now that everyone knows they are just as good as the own brand names , it might make those status seekers overcome their prejudices and take the basic products. that is why i say the outcome of this is the supermarket stop the competition with their own name brands by taking the basic products off the shelves. 

even now a lot of basic products have gone. the most effect of this policy on me is the removal of tesco’s basic milk powder. it is no more, and so i have lost a real cheap product. 500mg for £1.15. now the cheapest i can get is sainsburys 300mg for £1.65. sainsburys have long ago stopped having basic brand milkpowder. it might be it has become very expensive to make. i think it is made in europe and so with the £ exchange rate dropping they cannot get it cheaper anymore.  what i might hope is that they can source this outside europe when we leave the EU, and tariff on those will be removed.

but even though increased in price, it is still cheaper than buying fresh milk, which goes off real quick, unless you freeze them, which brings in its own bother, like having to anticipate how much u need and  remove them from the freezer so that they thaw.  

added. 10.19am 10.8C sunny. woke up just now and it is sunny out. looking at the lowest temp today i see it was 3.4C at about 5am…. i was awake then, but did not feel it was that cold in the flat. they were predicting it to be 1C, but i know it seldom get to that in central london.

as i am typing this, i am looking at my kitchen curtain hanging to dry, draped over my door to the living room. i find it a great place to dry them. i use them to dry my bedsheets, and duvet too… and was reminded that a few days ago simon told me, the wind was so strong, it sucked the curtain out of the window and ripped the rail right out so one side of the window has no curtain now.

i thought that was amazing, but there was no reason to doubt simon. he knows i am not too bothered even if he accidentally pulled it too strongly and broke it. i think the curtain rail cannot take too much sideways force, downward forces it can resist. it must be quite a strong wind. as usual, i slept through it all, or rather, the bedroom window was closed so no wind there. so i would not notice.

i doubt i will replace the rail. i notice the lack of the curtain makes the kitchen lighter. and we still have one side with its curtain, so it is still possible to cut out sunshine from one side. though i am not that kind of person who likes to keep the room in the dark. i like sunshine shining it. even though it can make viewing the screen in the laptop quite difficult. sometimes when i see rows of windows with their curtains drawn, preventing the sun from shining in, it makes me wonder why people have windows and then block out the light. they cant all be typing on their computers right? or sleeping. i bet it is the same people who complain of SAD… seasonal affective disorder… it is similar to people who complain of the cold whilst wearing very little clothing… added. 10.37am, oh look, just when i finished writing the last bit, i had a look at the  outside temp in this weather website and see it is 12.7C, risen so much just like that. 

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the tagliatelle with chicken mushroom sauce. another of simon’s creations. he uses a can if mushroom soup to make the base sauce. and add pieces of chicken. its a quick way of making something to eat.


grocery shopping basket

4 Oct

london 11.09am 14.7C sunny wednesday 2017 pimlico library

i am reading the free metro newspaper that i got from the bus, and i see a report that grocery basket up £1.80 on last year. it was done by my supermarket, a website, surveying 35 popular items , it cost £84.90 last month, 3p less than the month before (august), but £1.81 more than same time last year. i wonder what is in those 35 items. and how do they chose which price they buy at.

(my grocery bill last month was £40. of which £20 is for veg and meat).

for eg, i wanted to buy detergent for clothes. i bought 1litre ace brand for £2 from sainsburys.  but you can go real  high in price if u buy some branded stuff… as high as £7 or more.

i also bought a washing up liquid, 45p for 450ml from sainsburys from their basic range.  they all contain the same ingredients, that is the rather surprising aspect of these things. yet some brands charge like 4 times more. for eg, fairy liquid charges £1.65 for the same thing, same ingredient as the basic sainsburys washing up liquid that i bought. 

  • 15-30% Anionic Surfactants,
  • 5-15% Non-Ionic Surfactants,
  • Methylisothiazolinone,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Perfumes. fairy liquid

Our composition  Sainsbury’s basics washing up liquid contains amongst other ingredients:  5-15% Anionic Surfactant.  Less than 5% Non-Ionic Surfactant, Amphoteric Surfactant.  Also contains: Methylisothoazolinone, Benzisothiazolinone, Perfume.

just the proportions differ. i have used the basic and see no difference from fairy liquid. i dilute both by 10, and it cleans just as good. lathers just as much as each other.

the advert for fairy liquid plays on the comparison that it washes more dishes than its competitors. it might well be so, and it looks impressive when they line up all the dishes it washes against the competition. but in real life, people only wash a few dishes each time… and they will squirt out a huge dollop … so all that is wasted. people are not going to use it sparingly in proportion to the number of dishes. so a huge dollop is pushed out even if it is to wash a few dishes. 

added. i have since found poundland sells the same brand, ace, clothes detergent 700ml for £1. and that tesco actually has an offer now for that brand 1litre for £1.50. the internet does make it easier to spot the same brand being sold cheaper elsewhere. one thing though, the store might not have it in stock when u go there… it might be online on sale, but the store you chose to go to might not have it. as i have found when i went to the tesco in kennington… they dont have the ace brand on sale.

tesco have stopped stocking their basic brand, they called it biological concentreated laundry liquid, which i used to buy for £1.50 for 1 litre. i had a good look at their ingredients and i have noticed they are very similar to the washing up liquid. i wonder if they are the same, and that u can use washing up liquid as a clothes detergent! i think they are the same really, perhaps the detergent has got some bleach in them. i have a feeling they all use the same ingredients really. 



a friend of mine uses washing up liquid as a clothes detergent. he was the one who also made me aware that cold water can be used to wash dishes. no need to always use hot water. or rather, he made me remember what we did in malaysia. we always use cold water to wash dishes.

. i have since found out that u must use a teaspoon of washing up liquid for a small wash…dont use the same amount that u use with detergent,  because it produces a lot of bubbles.

just sunday outing

24 Jul

london 11.22pm 19.2C dry sunday 2016

i read somewhere that they have found that people who do things they like get to treat their depression as much as those who undergo cognitive behaviour therapy. one method is external, using the outside world to make a person less depressed, whilst the other method is internal changing the way the mind thinks and working from the inside out. i think i use both methods. i find things to enjoy even  though they might appear to be quite trivial;  whilst also controlling my mind to look at things in a positive way. 

i had an enjoyable time today going to the aldi in the old kent road to buy vegetables when i saw online that they are selling veg for 39p. it was quite a nice exercise to figure out the best way to get there. i finally decided to go for the number 36, to peckham, and from there the p12 to the aldi store. i got celery, nectarines,carrots,2cauliflowers, and courgettes all for 39p each. i wish i got the tomatoes too… even though they are rather small ones on the vine. anyway coming back it was a toss up which bus came first, if it is the p12, then i shall go back the way i came, but the 453 bus came first, so i took that to elephant and castle , got off there hoping to catch the c10, but from the timetable there was nothing arriving in less than 10mins, so i took the next bus which came along, the bus 12 as it happens, to westminster and then from there the bus 87 to the tate britain. i know it is rather a convoluted route, but it went quite smoothly because the connections came without much waiting time. i know all this is very trivial but it did give me rather a lot of pleasure. maybe the secret is to find pleasure in small things like this. i enjoy watching the world go by on top of the bus, and seeing people about me doing their thing. the day was rather cloudy and cool with a light breeze which added to the enjoyment as it was so pleasant and comfortable. 

on the old kent road i see lots of people wearing very colourful sunday best clothes. the costumes looks like what i see nigerians (in a documentary) wearing, very colourful matching dresses with headdresses, for the women, with some men wearing long gowns of plain white or light colours. i missed the chance of taking pictures of them, esp the women, because their costumes were so colourful and striking. 

daily life

18 Feb

london 5.07pm 7.7C sunny clear blue sky thursday 2016

its only become this nice weather a few hours ago. so we can see a nice sunset now and every thing looks lovely. i got the bus to cross the vauxhall bridge on my way to morrisons in camberwell to buy the chicken legs (5 in a pack)1.35kg they have on offer, reduced from £3.50 to £2.

and got a nice view of the setting sun and river views (its at low tide) when i re -crossed it on the way back. one lady along the route came aboard carry a large pile of the free newspapers, evening standard to put on the bus. i was right glad she did, i took one and thanked her when she came to sit next to me at the front of the bus.  but she said the bus driver dont like it, as he says people take it and throw it on the floor and litter his bus. haha.

i can understand why the bus driver might object, because it was quite a big pile, and even though i took two, one to leave in the hallway of my block for the other residents, i could see a newspaper on the ground when i left the bus. some one had dropped it on the floor. people can be bastards sometimes. haha.

i was very glad to get it though. 

i got a £5 morrisons gift voucher from the daily mail points system.  so i used that to buy 2 packs. i got change for that of £1. it is always nice to get something for free. hoho. 

earlier i went to the morrisons branch in strutton ground,(its a pedestrianised road, with pop up food stalls that cater to the lunch crowd, as well as shop restaurants, like the fish and chips place.) itis near new scotland yard offices (sold now to be torn down for luxury flats), and found the shop is gutted, with some workmen inside dismantling the shelves. they have closed it. i have heard of them closing branches, no mention of this one being one of them, but i guess it cannot be making much money, even though it was only opened about a year or so.

 and one store closed and another open. not a morrisons, but  i saw another one by sainsburys opened near me. it is below a block of luxury flats called great minster on marsham street. it is opposite the former westminster hospital, (which was converted to flats long ago).

i thought the planning application had been refused by westminster council, because some locals have objected, but it is here now, so i guess sainsburys must have reapplied with a scaled down plan and that was allowed. it is now just a local sainsburys, whilst before the plan was to take over the whole ground floor of that block.  i guess it is nice to have a sainsburys so near me. as usual someone else will lose out; the small corner store in the grosvenor estate will lose business. 

it will provide competition to the local tesco, that is hidden away in the home office block of govt building. i went in this new sainsburys to have a look and found they had reduced priced groceries, i cannot imagine they are long enough there to accummulate sell by dated groceries, so they must have reduced it as a opening ploy.

i bought a pack of 350mg mushrooms, for 45p. mushrooms are real nice in an omelette. what with all the luxury flats, and the govt offices around, it is doing roaring business. i went at lunch hour and there were queues to pay, they all look like office workers buying their lunch. we here in london are really spoilt for choice in the supermarkets that are like so close to each other. 

low prices of food

5 Feb

london 8.18pm 11.5C drizzle. ( very mild, dont u think?) friday 2016

its the start of the weekend i suppose, so not know what to expect in the bargain foods dept. i had run out of bread, so decided to try  pot luck when i got to the supermarket. l saw this tower of crates with lots of them, selling for 6p, 4p, 10p, 13p i bought 4 packs. 3wholemeal800mg @6p each, and the warburton toastie at 10p. it will fill my freezer this lot. haha.

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the cashier forgot himself and asked me if i got a tesco points card. until he realised that it is less than a £1 and so cannot apply. haha.

i bought a 20p tesco spaghetti, hoping to kick it to £1 but even with all those items it still fell short. i dont mind, as i prefer to get cheap stuff than have lots of high priced goods just to get the points.

i consider the beef mince (500mg) as a good buy at 40p. and of course the breads are great. the milk was so cheap that i bought one even though i dont really like skimmed milk, far less fatless ones.  there were many of them on the shelves 2L sold for 10p each. it is a special brand, no fat… so not even semi skimmed but fatless milk. i prefer full fat actually.

i drank a cup of it to  taste it, when i got back.it’s very watery… haha. i dont understand why anyone would pay good money to buy such milk. what is milk without its fat? just coloured water really. it retails for £1 normally.

on the way there i was walking over the vauxhallbridge, when suddenly a cyclist fell off his bike in front of me. no reason that i can see. it makes me realise that if that lane was not separated from traffic, he would be a dead duck. so i guess it is good that they are spending money and disrupting everyone by building separate cycle lanes . cyclists can be their own worst enemy. 


what do u do now that u are retired?

12 Jan

london 11.24am 7.9C cloudy, tuesday 2016

i hear people say they dont like grocery shopping for food. but i enjoy buying food, and cooking it.

yesterday i get the joy of finding minced angus beef, 500mg,reduced from £4 to 80p, and they dont even expire till 13 jan. not often i get to see such reductions on beef, so i bought  4 of them. and had a delicious meal of one of the packs last night. the rest i freezed. i think this hunting for reduced price bargains like this is part of the fun and contributes to why i like it so much. and as a side effect i found that when i do find such bargains, i really enjoy eating it. i think if i were to just buy the beef whenever i want, it wont be the same. eating it often wont generate the  intense desire and fulfillment that comes when i eat it once in a while. 

for those people who dont know how to cook, or cook in a very rudimentary fashion, buying ready made foods only, i dont know how they spend their time.

without the periods of food hunting and food cooking, they must have a lot of time on their hands, esp if they are retired and not working. of course they might say well that is why mylife is so much more interesting than yours. haha. i have lots of things to do than to spend time buying food and cooking it and making it the highlight of my life. haha. maybe they are right, but i dont envy them. i cannot think of anything u can do at this late stage of your life that is as easy and enjoyable as shopping for food and cooking it. and eating the result. 

maybe they spent all the time dozing in the sun. haha. or sleeping in their beds. that would certainly eat into their time and make it fly by. 

i am so glad of reading too. glad that i can read, that my eyesight is still ok that it does not make reading difficult. it makes me really glad of eyesight. the blind must feel very isolated as there are so many things they cannot do. i think of all the senses, the sense of sight is the most important. 

added12.54pm 13.1.16, the reduced foods section can create a fearful scrum with people fighting to get the food. as happened in this tesco supermarket and a person got hurt. but it depands on what night u go. i went on monday, which is a quiet day, and no one was fighting to get the food. perhaps that tesco is staggering its reductions to stop the fights happening. that would be a good thing if they do. 

minor things in life

16 Jun

There was a long line of cars waiting for the lights to go red, and this car was honking and trying to attract the attention of the car next to it, but slightly ahead.
It turned out when they moved off, that the car had a flat tire on the back wheel, and the other car was trying to let it know. It is one of the mysteries of life that when u are driving a car , u can never know if one of the tires go flat. nowadays, tires don’t go flat with a bang, but quietly lose air. I am sure he would be damaging his tire hub rim by driving on it with a flat tire.

It made me realise how glad I am that I don’t have a car. These things really can make life irritating…I mean things going wrong with the car; and we are not even talking about the agro u can get from other road users.

I go through life now getting lots of evidence of these minor irritations, and reinforcing to me how wonderful my life is without having those things.

So what I am saying is if u feel life is depriving you of its enjoyment because u cannot afford to run a car, just be happy that u don’t have a car and never have to tolerate the nonsensical irritations that owning a car will bring to you.

I happened to find a daily mirror newspaper in the library the other day, and saw an advert by asda of 50p celery and 60p brocolli. That is the good thing about these cheap tabloid newspapers, u get adverts about bargains in the supermarkets. Unlike the so called quality papers. So often, it is the only way I can know of these special low price offers. Vegetables are cheap now, maybe because it is the summer and so the harvest is plentiful.

Also, mywaitrose card arrived by the post. I registered for it online. I tried it out by going to the Tottenham court waitrose, to get my free coffee. It was a self service, and the cashier did not even take my card to swipe the number. maybe he rang it up on the till but he said to go ahead and get the coffee so i did.  It normally costs £1.80. The coffee was v weak, and I realise it was because I used a large cup to make the cappuccino. The trouble was this was the only size available. I thought the machine will just dispense the small amount, but it seems to be controlled by the cup size.

Another day I went to the waitrose in john lewis, and this time the cashier rang it up in his till and gave me a receipt for it. It was normally £2.10 . But foolishly I spilt all of it when I went to add the suger. So I never did taste it. I shall have to go again to try it properly next time.

But it is a great service of waitrose to give free coffee every day with the card.

I think u can get free coffee everywhere in waitrose branches that serve coffee. The john lewis one is the only one I know that actually have someone make it fresh for you. I am kicking myself for spilling that coffee because it looked like a really good cup of coffee. The others seem to dispense it from a machine.

I saw the new waitrose in Vauxhall have a coffee making machine so maybe they too will give me free coffee. It is not listed in the list of branches that offer this service. I shall have to ask them one day when I happen to be waiting for a bus in Vauxhall.

Even though there is this great coffee offer from waitrose , I wont be using it much. I don’t really like strong coffee.

But isn’t London lovely to have this free coffee available?

I heard about this waitrose coffee offer from a blog about frugal living. Now that is one good reason for reading other people’s frugal blogs.haha.

My gym membership is going to expire in august and I am thinking of not renewing it. At the moment it is £11 a month, but come august it will be a year and the introductory offer expires and so the membership goes up to the normal £20 a month. I am wondering if it is worth the £20 a month.

I go regularly, but I have free swimming sessions at the local sports centre, and so I could get my exercise from swimming instead of the gym.
So I think I shall terminate my gym membership come august and see if I can just do swimming.

It will be a change from the gym. I am getting a bit bored with the gym.

Life is so carefree now, that this is the kind of thing that exercise my mind. Minor things as u can see.