Live on £1 a Day: Angie Day 2

Felt a bit woozy on my walk with the dogs first thing, I think it was likely because of the lack of sugar and salt as I was probably dehydrated after my run. Busied myself around the house changing the beds, ironing and doing a bit of tidying to try and keep my mind off the fact I had woken up hungry. Arrived at work and got myself a glass of water, was lucky enough to be made three cups of tea throughout the day, but that is way short of what I usually drink so did miss it.

Lunch was homemade broccoli and cheese soup today. This is actually my favourite and I often make this and take it to work. I did go easy on the cheese though as that little block has to last the whole week. It has made me realise just how much cheese I eat, we regularly go through 2–3 blocks of cheese a week!  Again, I had two bits of bread and spread to try and bulk up my lunch.

I do appreciate the fact that I go out to work as it kept me busy so that I wasn’t constantly thinking of food, however I did find myself hungrier than usual today and would have loved to have grabbed an apple, a bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate to fill the gap in the afternoon.

When I got home from work we made a pizza base and, while the dough was proving, we took the dogs for a walk.  My other half said he’d not been feeling well all day and while we were walking, he had to sit down as he was feeling so dizzy. All I could think about was getting home and making the pizza. This was where I said I was going to cheat: I had a pepper, a few tomatoes and mushrooms that were already out of date and needed to be used up and I couldn’t wait. When shopping they had sold out of tomato puree and I toyed with getting passata, but didn’t buy it as it would have meant I had to go without something else.  Instead I pureed some of the tinned tomatoes to make the base layer to build everything on.

The pizza was amazing! I usually chop chillies and then dip it in mayonnaise so had to miss out on that, but it was still great.  We just watched telly in the evening and would usually have had a bottle of beer, but stuck to water.


Angie’s pizza reminded us of our FISH clubs (Food (and Fun) In School Holidays) for low income families and one of the children’s favourite activities, which is DIY pizzas with the Morrisons Community Champion. We have done this on several occasions, thanks to Geoff at Morrisons Riverside, and he brings all the foodstuffs needed and the children can add wahtever toppings they fancy. Something we’ve always noticed, and we have had shop-bought pizza for lunch on a few occasions – the meals the children make themselves (and we’ve done DIY wraps too!), always result in fewer leftovers.

We think this could be the same for the parents too as we trialled the Joy of Food cookery course alongside FISH last year and the adults who took part were so chuffed with the meals they created and enjoyed them for their tea each week.

We’re currently trialling recipe kits at the foodbank, giving clients the opportunity to take a bag of specific ingredients and a recipe home, alongside their food parcel to try.

Those of us who enjoy baking and cooking for ourselves and / or for friends may do so just for fun and if it goes wrong, it doesn’t really matter. But trying a new recipe while on a tight budget can be risky – what if it goes wrong – what will we eat instead and I’ve now wasted that meal’s money. If the children or family members don’t like it, what do we eat instead; there’s no backup. The recipes are going down well so far, watch this space for..!

Live on £1 a Day: Angie Day 1

Got up, walked the dogs and got ready for work. When I arrived, there was a cup of tea on my desk waiting for me – I have some lovely colleagues!  I started to feel hungry around 11:30am, but as I said before I am trying not to eat until 12pm; I left my lunch where it was and sat it out.

Lunch was homemade tomato, onion and butterbean soup. I also added a handful of pasta to try and make sure that it was as filling as possible. I’d used potatoes to thicken it up and myself and my partner had two slices of bread and olive oil spread. I have to say that I didn’t notice the difference in the bread even though we had omitted the sugar from the dough. It was very nice and I am extremely glad that I had bought stock cubes in my shop as I think it would have been pretty bland without.

The afternoon went well and I had several cups of tea made for me and I drank plenty of water. I usually graze throughout the afternoon, even if it is healthy grazing that I do and I missed this a lot. I found an apple on my desk and gave it to a colleague although I would have loved to have eaten it myself. By about 4:30pm I was getting really hungry; I started thinking a lot about food and what I could make with all the potatoes we bought. 

I didn’t leave work until 6pm as I was meeting some friends to go for a run. I am lucky that I have a hobby that, once you have the kit, it’s free, but it does make you think about what you would do if you needed new trainers and had to choose between new trainers to allow you to continue doing something that you enjoy and is good for your mental wellbeing, or having food to give you the fuel to do it.

I often find that running dulls my appetite and when I got home I wasn’t that hungry. At around 8pm, we had beans on toast as that was something simple and quick. I missed adding some chopped chilli to my beans – I grow my own and have a freezer with lots of varieties – but I was determined to stick to what I bought so they stayed in the freezer. I often grate some cheese on top as well, but left that off as I need enough for my pizza, broccoli and cheese soup and for any pasta I will be making later in the week.  It does make you think about the things you take for granted…


We’ve mentioned before during these blogs about the nutritionally balanced food parcels, as set out by the Trussell Trust, but it’s worth mentioning again! Today, we had a school visit from a year 5 class who came with a large donation of items and lots of well thought out questions. One student asked ‘how much money do you [the foodbank] spend on food each week?’ and the answer is not very much at all, thanks to our amazing supporters, listening to our needs and responding. We send out a monthly ‘most / least needed’ list to those who have requested it (around 80 recipients, several who represent groups), highlighting the items that we really need, but also the items we don’t need due to high stock levels.

If you’re local to Norwich and would like to support us, look at our website and social media pages to see updates on what we do and don’t currently need. If Norwich isn’t your local foodbank, get in touch with them as we know they would really appreciate giving you up to date info on how best you can help.

Live on £1 a Day: Kathryn Day 4

The weekend is here – 48 hours stretch out in front of me with no specific plans.

Breakfast – cornflakes and milk

Lunch – pasta, vegetables with soft cheese

Tea – beans & cheesy mash potato ‘pie’

Very tired today – that could be due to the previous evening activities – but I admit that the thought of cornflakes was not welcoming as they don’t fill me up.

This is going to be a boring blog day – I really didn’t do much apart from housework, washing and knitting. Normally a day to myself without the pressure of work is welcome but the day dragged as I was just focused on when I could eat next.

One good thing was (due to an inspired tip from my sister) I made ‘crisps’ from my potato peelings.   To think I was going to throw them away – but baked in the oven they came out crispy and were a welcome snack during Saturday evening .


Norwich foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust and follows their model of providing 3 days of nutritionally balanced food in each of the parcels given out. Because of this, the mixture of items is really important and so when we ask for certain foods, it’s to ensure we have a good stock of ALL required items. Baked beans, pasta and cereal are donated the most as they basically cover the main meal staples, but this also means many foodbanks are extremely well stocked with these items. Therefore, things like milk, fruit juice and sponge puddings (all long life of course!) are in shorter supply and are even more gratefully received.

Norwich foodbank currently needs sponge puddings if you’re in a position to donate and if you’re in need yourself, do get in touch with the office on 0103 251733 or via the email

Live on £1 a Day: Kathryn Day 3

I’m tired and weary today.   Could that just be a Friday feeling or there are other factors at play…?

There have been a number of interesting conversations in my office – for those staff who have heard what I’m doing and understanding why I’m more grumpy than usual.  It is great to hear the debates and making people think about what they take for granted and what they are (genuinely) grateful for.

Breakfast – cornflakes and milk

Lunch – pasta, vegetables with soft cheese

Late afternoon snack – small amount of spaghetti hoops

Tea –  NONE!

Food planning has been a challenge again today.   Due to knowing I’m out volunteering straight from work this evening, I’ve brought some of my spaghetti hoops for a snack to help me last the evening.

The relief that a cup of tea was offered first thing prompted a spontaneous hug for one of my colleagues.   Never been this emotional over a cup of tea before!

I will say here that it was noted at work that I was far more irritable and snappy than normal during the day.   I was asked a number of times ‘are you Ok?’

I was very glad for my late afternoon snack as my evening plans were a lot longer than expected and didn’t get home until past 9pm.   I’ll be honest, I was beyond being hungry and I didn’t have any tea.

The weekend is looming and I’m not looking forward to it.


One myth about those who use the foodbank is that everyone who comes, is on benefits and not in work. Well many people are in employment AND need our support – this may be due to zero hours contracts which mean income is unstable and budgeting is near-on impossible, or it may due to low wages / low hours due to childcare or other commitments.

Some of you may read this blog and be thinking about food choices and shopping and hunger, but another point to sharing these experiences is to help better understand and therefore empathise with those who struggle day in, day out to make ends meet.

Live on £1 a Day: Hannah Day 5

Another lie-in for similar reasons as yesterday, but an evening later night out! I had two glasses of soda water while out with friends yesterday – I honestly didn’t feel jealous or miss having a drink as I’m often the driver, but despite my drink looking like lemonade or a spirit and mixer, I did feel like I was being a martyr (they knew what I was doing and so offered to buy me a drink but I politely refused because not everyone has people who could or would do that) and also like I stood out as not being able to afford a drink.

As I said yesterday, having a limited income doesn’t just impact your diet but your social activities as well and being isolated because you can’t afford to take part, can have a major impact on a person’s mental health, existing friendships because if you have to keep saying ‘no’ when invited out you may stop getting invites and on making new friendships.


Porridge with blackcurrant and carrot sticks later in the morning for a snack.


As I’d run out of soup, I had pasta with baked beans. I realised at the start of this 5-day period that I would need to ration my pasta – usually when I cook pasta, I put in a couple of handfuls but because I needed it to last 6 meals (5 dinners and 1 lunch), I have been having 85g per meal; probably a similar amount to my handfuls but I didn’t want to run out on day 4.

I sometimes (!) get cross with my husband for eating something that I had plans for – either something that was going to be the next day’s lunch or tea or eating too much to leave a whole portion for another day. If this happens, I’ll be annoyed, but there’s always something else in the cupboard / fridge / freezer that can replace the eaten item. This weighing and rationing out of my food supplies hasn’t been stressful for me because I know they won’t be eaten by accident (labelled in tubs in the fridge or just not appealing to hubby!), but I can’t help thinking of families with hungry children or adults in the household who innocently eat something needed for another meal and the cook or breadwinner worrying what can be done, having to give smaller portions to everyone or having to go without so others can eat.

I didn’t have much on today and I usually love a lazy day, but today I was more restless and felt hungry and it just demonstrated how much snacking I do during the day and how many times food punctuates my time. A cup of tea here, a piece or fruit or crisps there, another cup of tea or other drink, pop out to do errands and have a coffee out, invite people over or go round their’s for a drink / something to eat / take some chocolates round. I have been more and more aware how much food and drink is linked to social activities and if you can’t afford it, it can be tough. ‘Shall we get a coffee? Shall we get a takeaway?’ etc. I know I’ve said this kind of thing before, but this has been one of my ‘takeaway’ (no pun intended) lessons.

I roasted the remaining chickpeas as an afternoon snack and they were nice, but I usually put garlic salt on and that would have been tastier… Throughout this 5 days, I haven’t thought about the cost of the gas or electric to cook the food I have been eating, although this would be a concern for many of those who are on a limited income.

This winter (November til March), foodbanks across Norfolk have been partnering with agencies to enable clients using the service to access emergency payments towards gas and electric to help them cook the food we give them and / or heat their home during the colder weather. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to choose which I spend my money on, but many do and it’s a very hard decision.


My last meal of the 5 days was the remaining pasta, tomatoes and sardines. I’m left with 17p, 2 carrots, a glass of soya milk, most of the bag of porridge oats and half a bottle of squash. If I did this again, I would buy different things as I got in a muddle about value for money (hence the big bag of oats when 8 instant sachets would have been tastier and the same price), but at the same time if I was spending £5 tomorrow for 5 days, I’d have an ‘extra’ £1.70 ish to spend, as I’d have oats and squash left from this week. I’m thinking I could have done £40 for the whole 40 days of Lent, so that’s an idea for next year maybe.

I did find that I felt full before I’d finished my bowl of food. I don’t know if this is because I’m getting used to smaller portions, or because I was bored of the same things and just didn’t want any more (I finished it, I don’t like waste) and I’m already thinking about tomorrow and whether I’ll feel ill eating a ‘normal’ 3 meals which will be bigger portions, even if just more fruit and vegetables. I do need to think more about portion control as I haven’t felt bad at all on this ‘diet’, despite my working out that if I had a portion of all my food items (and it was only today that I had a little of everything I bought), I have had between 500-600 calories a day. I don’t have a particularly physical job, but for those that do, I don’t think this is anywhere near enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle on.

I’ve also realised that I eat what I want, not necessarily because I’m hungry – ‘I fancy some chocolate or crisps’ – but I could have had a bowl of porridge if I was actually hungry and I didn’t. Therefore I can’t really have needed anything. Something a mum always says…!

Norwich foodbank – and multiple foodbanks and other charities across the UK – run holiday clubs for low income families to attend for a free hot meal and free fun activities. Part of this is to help provide a meal when free school meals aren’t an option, but the activities side can be just as important, as outlined above – for the children to socialise during the school holidays, but also for the parents. Norwich foodbank’s project FISH (Food (and Fun) In School Holidays) has been running since 2014 and has helped to support 11 clubs, seeing hundreds of children and serving over 6,000 meals (not including seconds, thirds or puddings!). Some of the clubs welcome the whole family, others provide activities for the children and space for parents to relax and meet other families in their community and some allow the parents to have a break while the children are entertained for a couple of hours. Have a look at the facebook page ( for more information or email if you would like to know how to receive this support in the holidays or are able to help in some way.

Live on £1 a Day: Hannah Day 3

I’m afraid it’s another repeat of yesterday, minus the tea…


Still porridge and it’s very boring with no fruit or sugar in it. I might try adding a little blackcurrant squash (neat) although I might just ruin the whole dish and wouldn’t want to waste any of it… Still thinking…


Just the soup again as I’m working late tonight so thought carrot sticks would be a good snack again.

We’re doing a collection at Carrow Road ahead of the match, and so I ate about two tablespoons of cold baked beans about 5pm to stave off the hunger before I got tea. It did help, but all the smells of fish and chips, burgers and bacon sarnies were tough going during the evening, as were all the fans eating sausage rolls on their way to the game! But keeping busy helped me not think too much about food and even though we were collecting food, I actually felt OK. Plus we collected 47 crates of donations as well as lots of very generous cash gifts so that was a great evening’s work!


I got home at 9.30pm and I probably could have gone without tea, but as I was soaked through, I really wanted something warm so had pasta with some tomatoes, chickpeas and sardines.

I think the weekend is going to be hard, even though I’m over half way now, because I’ve not got much planned and I usually snack even more than normal and drink a lot of tea…

I was really delighted with the response to the Carrow Road collection – the foodbank is really well stocked with baked beans, pasta, soup and cereal and yet because these are staple foods that are practically breakfast, lunch and dinner, these are some of the most donated items. Yet we requested milk, instant mash and tinned potatoes and these were really well represented tonight. Thank you all who give and thank you to all who get in touch every week to find out what we are most in need of – this is really helpful to keep stocks up of our most needed items. Do bear in mind that foodbanks in different areas have different needs so if you are able to donate, please do check with your local one to see what would be most helpful.

Live on £1 a Day: Hannah Day 2

I went to bed reasonably early (for me at least!) last night as I was feeling hungry and that was making me restless and bored so bed seemed like a good solution.


Same as yesterday…


Same as yesterday… Although I didn’t eat my carrot sticks as I thought I’d need a post-gym snack later. I got caught up at work at 12,30pm ish and so didn’t have my cuppa soup until just after 2pm which was actually quite good as I knew I’d have tea quite late today. I need to tell my colleagues I appreciate them as I received another 2 cups of tea this morning, but am always in the office alone on Fridays so I should have savoured that second cup as it’s the last until Monday.

I went to the gym with my friend as usual and completed almost my entire work out (I only missed 2 exercises and one was because the machine was occupied). The company was great and gave me a boost, plus I wouldn’t normally eat until after the gym, so it didn’t feel abnormal to be hungry. I did feel a little weak generally as the hour went on, but this may be psychological as I expected to struggle more than I did. I won’t go again during this period, but I wondered how I would feel doing a workout a few more days in, rather than just on the second day.


I got home just after 7pm and had munched on my carrot sticks during my journey home. I realised though that I was eating them quite mindlessly, and I often do this – eat something in the car or in the evening because it’s there, and don’t always consider if it’s actual hunger or boredom or convenience. I stopped eating the carrots so I have an evening snack if needed. I cooked a portion of pasta, added some chickpeas and roughly a third of a tin of sardines in tomato sauce. It was delicious and, although I may be overthinking this, I’m not sure if it was just the variety of not having the same dinner as yesterday following the same breakfast and lunch.

Tomorrow I’m working very late and am still trying to decide what to do in between hopefully a late lunch and a very late tea. Not really a dilemma, but planning ahead is much trickier with so little to play with.

Today, I delivered a food parcel to a person in need who is both diabetic and has no access to cooking facilities after being placed in a hotel awaiting a housing decision. The items I put together could just about be considered ‘meals’ and while they were really appreciated by the recipient, it made me think how much more difficult it is to live on a tight budget with even just one added complication, let alone two.

If you’re thinking of getting involved or supporting the foodbank, please consider donating ring-pull tins or even tin openers – we often get items given back when parcels are handed to people who don’t have what many might consider the basics.

Live on £1 a Day: Hannah Day 1

I had pancakes last night (well, it was Shrove Tuesday!) and I really enjoyed them, but ate too much – I think partly because I could, but also because I thought I wouldn’t have enough to eat today and so wanted to binge a little. It doesn’t work like that. I felt bloated during the evening and REALLY hungry in the morning!


I had porridge oats with mostly soya milk and a little water as already I’m concerned the milk won’t do 5 breakfasts. I had blackcurrant squash instead of my usual fruit juice and although it was sweet and added a small amount of flavour in between spoonfuls of very plain porridge, it was a bit too sugary for first thing in the morning. However, I did feel pretty full for most of the morning.

I work full time and decided that as tea and coffee is always on offer at work, if I’m offered a drink, I will have one but I won’t help myself during this 5 day period. I hadn’t advertised the fact that I’m doing this appeal, but luckily, my colleagues enjoy a cuppa as much as I usually do so, by lunchtime, I had had 2 cups of tea. Lovely.


I had lunch a little later than planned (or was it just that I was hungry earlier…?) and my vegetable cuppa soup and carrot sticks did hit the spot and I enjoyed it. I have previously attempted the 5:2 diet and my lunch was always soup and vegetables sticks so today was fine. Tomorrow and the next day…?


I got home about 5.30pm and was feeling very hungry. I hadn’t particularly planned what would go with my pasta each day, but as I’m hoping to attend the gym tomorrow, I’m saving half my fish for then and the other for the weekend when I think I’ll be flagging. So it was pasta (weighed out to ensure it would last the whole 5 days) and 2 spoons each of tinned tomatoes and chickpeas stirred in. It was tasty, but I ate very slowly trying to make it last.

My husband isn’t taking part in this appeal, so I cooked a separate pasta meal for him. This really made me think of all the families and parents who ensure their children or partner are fed first and then if there’s anything left or just if there’s enough, only then will they eat. I also thought of the scene in the film Erin Brokovitch where she takes the children out for tea and doesn’t order anything because she can’t afford it, but tells them her lawyer took her out for a fancy lunch and she’s still full. I expect this sentiment is expressed all over the country in homes, by mums and dads.

Today I was very aware of the snacks I eat during the day, especially the sweets I have in my car for if I ‘need’ something and the cost of all these things would add up to at least my £5 budget which is providing me 15 whole meals. I’m also thinking of the snacks I would normally have after tea – I don’t have pudding as such, but quite often during the evening I’ll have a hot drink and some fruit or chocolate.

If you are thinking of getting involved, please do get in touch. Or next time you do your food shop, think of donating something filling like rice pudding or tinned potatoes or long life sponge puddings to keep people who receive out support going through the day.

Live on £1 a Day: Hannah’s Shop

I am quite organised when it comes to food – not a lot else, but definitely food. My mum always made a menu plan for the week, wrote a shopping list based on this and what’s in the cupboard and then went to the supermarket. Since I’ve lived independently, I’ve done the same – and I still get twitchy when the plan goes to pot because of a spontaneous meal out!

When we were planning this year’s Lent appeal, I immediately knew which one I would do – I don’t want to call it a ‘challenge’ as this suggests that those who do it will succeed or fail and it’s not about that. It’s about encouraging empathy for those who are living this on a daily basis, being grateful for the choices we have and also increasing the awareness of food waste – if you don’t have much to begin with, you absolutely don’t want to waste any of it.

The Budget

I had a think about breakfast, lunch and dinner and the sorts of items I might be able to get and in the interest of research, costed out these items at Lidl, Aldi, Sainsburys, Morrisons, and Asda. With a little bit of juggling – sardines instead of tuna for example – I found I could get all the items on my list for under £5. Despite my comment about not calling it a ‘challenge’, I have to admit that I did feel a little excited at the prospect of doing this shop – I have a weekly budget for my own food shopping and generally stick to it (!) but this is so much more limiting, I did feel that I would be achieving something if I could manage to get 5 days worth of food and drink for £5.

I went into Lidl with my list of food items and put fresh onions and carrots, tinned chickpeas, tomatoes and sardines, cuppa soups, a bottle of squash (I don’t like ‘normal’ tea and there’s no way I could afford Earl Grey, Rooibos or even coffee during this period), porridge oats, soya milk (I don’t have any allergies or intolerances but thought I’d try and do a dairy free version for variety) and a bag of pasta. All items were own brand and in most cases, the cheapest one possible.

The Overspend

At the checkout, I was confident that I had spent just under £5, but the total came to £5.13. I hesitated for a moment – when I do my food shop, if I go over my budget even by a few pounds I just pay – and though 13p is not much, I wanted to do it properly, so decided the only item that wasn’t really essential was onions. I said ‘I’m so sorry, I only have £5 so could I please return these?’ The checkout operator smiled and said ‘We’ve all been there love, don’t worry’ and I left with my goods and change (47p). I checked the receipt and my list – I had noted that the squash on my list was 65p but it had come out at 99p. I checked the shelf and the label I’d seen was for another product so it was my mistake, but it made me think that I don’t always look at prices – it costs what it costs. In order to use my money to it’s extent, I bought a tin of baked beans for 30p so my total 5 days cost £4.83. If I’d bought ‘normal’ milk and teabags instead of squash, I would have spent less and could have had the onions. I also could just have water as a drink but I thought that was one step too far for me; someone else may make this choice.

The Choices

I thought about those who have food allergies such as gluten – I guess potatoes would be a good replacement for the pasta – or those with diabetes for whom the food I’d chosen may not be terribly helpful for their condition.

I also thought about those people who live nearest to a smaller store (I couldn’t get all the items listed for under £5 from the Coop or Waitrose for example) where the costs are more than at other shops. Spending a couple of pounds on a bus ticket might not save you any more in the shopping bill and it would also be quite a bit more time to do this which might not be an option. I have a car and there’s 4 major supermarkets all within a 10 minute or less drive. Something I’ve never really been grateful for, but I am today.

The Appeal

Norwich foodbank gave out almost 1,000 food parcels in January 2019 alone. A third of these went to children aged 16 or under. Each food parcel contains enough food to last the recipient for 3 days and the items are nutritionally balanced, in line with the Trussell Trust model. All items in the parcel are long life / non-perishable so we can make up parcels in advance and store large quantities ready for packing. If you would like to support us, our current needs are instant mash, tinned fruit, tinned meat (high meat content please), tinned fish and Easter treats. Or get involved this Lent and take part in one of our 3 appeals – Live on £1 a Day, Give up and Give (give up something during Lent and donate what you would have spent), or #40for40 (put aside 40p every day of Lent and donate this, along with gift aid if possible, and we’ll get £20).