Buy Nothing New October, Reviews, Second-hand Scavengers

A stylish lesson in how to make do: Flea Market Style

Most books on interiors encourage readers to buy in on a certain trend. Flea Market Style is no exception with its double-page spreads of what could only be described as Frankie chic.

For most of the book, stylist Emily Chalmers, interiors writer Ali Hanan and photographer Debi Treloar focus on how to recreate ‘flea market style’; after all ‘there are guidelines and quiet rules that any decorator wanting to attain that shabby-chic look must follow to avoid falling into the dreaded “anything goes” trap’ (Andrew Ritchie from Martha Moments). There’s sections like ‘Furniture’, ‘Pattern and colour’, ‘Lighting’, and ‘Collections and display’. Pictures and words are also grouped according to space: living, dining, sleeping, etc., making the book more user-friendly for those needing help with a particular room. Continue reading

Money Matters, Reviews

There’s no trick to it: Save Money on Your Mortgage

If you’re serious about saving, you should look to your mortgage. After all, according to New Zealand finance writer Martin Hawes, the ‘mortgage has more scope for saving and adding to your net worth than any other area of your finances’ because most mortages cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, leading to ‘possibilities for making big savings’.

In his book Save Money on Your Mortgage, Hawes shows how loan size, loan period, interest rates, repayment size and frequency of repayments affect the overall cost of a mortgage. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Going Green, Reviews

New bag, old tricks: Frugavore

Organic food. People are either for or against it. Organic converts conscientiously object to the overcrowding of livestock, genetic modification, the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in conventional farming, whilst skeptics will insist that the organic food’s claim to superiority is purely anecdotal, even mythological. Whatever the case may be, there are some of us who want to eat organic. Unfortunately, ‘organic’ is often a byword for ‘expensive’. So how does one eat well without a) spending a fortune on groceries or b) going Gourmet Farmer? In Frugavore, nutritionist and slow-food advocate Arabella Forge shows how it can be done with a mix of recipes and practical advice. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Reviews

It’s not about the limitations: The $120 Food Challenge

In February 2010 I found myself without a job. With no replacement job forthcoming, I signed up for unemployment benefits and reined in as much expenditure as I could. Faced with the option of either paying an electricity bill or buying groceries that week, I approached the Salvation Army who gave me two $60 food vouchers to use for the fortnight. (Sandra Reynolds)

Two years, a blog and a book deal later, Sandra Reynolds has increased her food budget to a modest $120 per week. However, unlike the Australian Women’s Weekly, she isn’t cowed by her limitations – ‘Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat a restricted diet’ – and her recipes from both blog and book are a testament to this philosophy. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Reviews

A frugal diet: Smart Food – 101 recipes that won’t break the budget

All the ingredients can be bought at the supermarket—nothing is exotic or expensive—and the dishes are delicious and simple to make. (blurb from Smart Food)

Using pantry staples such as carrots, canned tomatoes, and mince, the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Smart Food trots out predictable fare: soups, pastas, stews, pies, and the occasional curry or stir fry. A North African pork and cabbage rolls recipe is the only oasis in a culinary dessert, and even then it requires mince and canned tomatoes.

There’s logic behind the lack of imagination. By showing what can be done with a restrictive list of ingredients, Smart Food reduces waste in the kitchen, potentially saving households $1,036 each year*. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Reviews

British retro cool: Delia’s Frugal Food

It’s strange how things drift in and out of fashion. Being thrifty was the done thing in 1976, when Delia’s Frugal Food was first published; now*, with rapidly increasing food prices, thrift has made a comeback.

In keeping with the book’s theme, Delia Smith has recycled much of its contents. She ‘felt it had a certain nostalgic appeal in showing how things were thirty-two years ago’. Hence this revised edition is a bit of a curiosity, offering fascinating insight on a bygone era. Continue reading