Not Buying It – Bread

One of my first TV memories was a programme called “Living in the past“. I was just 4 when the show aired. It was the first reality TV show of this type to be shown in the UK, 22 years before Big Brother hit our screens.

Living in the past‘ focused on 15 volunteers who in 1978 sustained themselves for a full year, equipped only with tools, crops and livestock which would have been available in Britain in the 2nd Century BC.

There’s very rarely a week that passes in which this programme does not cross my mind.

Around the same time, The Good Life ran on British TV. Although too young to remember the show when first aired, I watched the repeats and was intrigued by self-sufficiency from an early age.

This may explain why after baking some bread rolls, on Saturday for lunch, I had an urge to photograph them.

Rugged and rustic. Imperfect and simple, yet beautiful and unique.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Much of what I do is not about the money. These home-made rolls were indeed cheaper than buying them ready-made, however regardless of cost I would still have made them.

Undoubtedly at some point this week I will buy some bread. But it’s getting harder to do. I feel, rather than consuming, I should be creating.

I’m starting to wonder where this journey toward a simpler life will ultimately lead? I know that I cannot make everything we consume. I’m unlikely to start grinding flour as my current life is more of suburban simplicity than of going completely back to basics.

The less I purchase, the less I want to. The allure of uniqueness and the satisfaction of creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts, is becoming addictive.

I’m even starting to question my sanity…well a little! Can simple become far too extreme? I know I’m not at that point yet, but where does it all end?

On a lighter note, I’ve made another box. I’m pretty pleased with this one.It would appear old comics make great decoupage. Waste not want not.

How’s the simple life going for you? Have you found the correct balance for your family? Any insight into whether I am on the right track?

{ 62 comments… add one }
  • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi February 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

    I think you’re on the right track if it feels right to YOU! Minimalism and simple lifestyles are defined by each person living them. My simple is not your simple. I say be as extreme or moderate as you personally want to be. I know it can be hard to feel if you’re doing enough as I struggle with the same feelings. Reading blogs is great for ideas, but can also leave you with a feeling like you have to do more to catch up. For me, I try ideas if they sound interesting or I’ve come to grips with the fact that some things are just not for me or my family. For example, many minimalism/simple living bloggers are vehemently against TV. While I can see some of their point, I’ve come to my own conclusion that TV (well Netflix & movies) are A-OK in our house (actually blogging on this when I can get all my thoughts together lol). Anyway, all of that to say that I think you’re doing great and as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters 🙂

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:36 pm

      Hey Megyn! It’s so true, what works for one doesn’t for another. I think perhaps where I am struggling is trying to balance how I feel we should live with the actual world we live in. It’s a tough one. We have TV here. In fact about a year ago I wrote How TV Ruined Your Life it seemed there was a trend starting of demonising TV. To me it’s a tool, for entertainment and in some cases educational purposes. A bad workman blames his tools, simply turn it off if you or the Kids are watching too much. I feel at the mo with the Kids and the end of winter, they may be watching a bit too much, so off it went yesterday and we concentrated on playdoh, baking and a bit of role play (we’re into Star Wars currently). It’s the adverts I have the main issue with anyway. Looking forward to your post!

  • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi February 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

    I think you’re on the right track if it feels right to YOU! Minimalism and simple lifestyles are defined by each person living them. My simple is not your simple. I say be as extreme or moderate as you personally want to be. I know it can be hard to feel if you’re doing enough as I struggle with the same feelings. Reading blogs is great for ideas, but can also leave you with a feeling like you have to do more to catch up. For me, I try ideas if they sound interesting or I’ve come to grips with the fact that some things are just not for me or my family. For example, many minimalism/simple living bloggers are vehemently against TV. While I can see some of their point, I’ve come to my own conclusion that TV (well Netflix & movies) are A-OK in our house (actually blogging on this when I can get all my thoughts together lol). Anyway, all of that to say that I think you’re doing great and as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters 🙂

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:36 pm

      Hey Megyn! It’s so true, what works for one doesn’t for another. I think perhaps where I am struggling is trying to balance how I feel we should live with the actual world we live in. It’s a tough one. We have TV here. In fact about a year ago I wrote How TV Ruined Your Life it seemed there was a trend starting of demonising TV. To me it’s a tool, for entertainment and in some cases educational purposes. A bad workman blames his tools, simply turn it off if you or the Kids are watching too much. I feel at the mo with the Kids and the end of winter, they may be watching a bit too much, so off it went yesterday and we concentrated on playdoh, baking and a bit of role play (we’re into Star Wars currently). It’s the adverts I have the main issue with anyway. Looking forward to your post!

  • Rayna@BrightCopperKettles February 7, 2012, 1:40 am

    I found this post to be extremely well-written, thought-provoking, and just really completely spot on! And I’m now seriously on a mission to see “The Good Life”. Maybe Netflix has it…

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:38 pm

      I think you might like ‘The Good Life’ Hun x
      Margo was my favourite character… a great bit of 1970’s British decorating and interior design going on also…

  • Rayna@BrightCopperKettles February 7, 2012, 1:40 am

    I found this post to be extremely well-written, thought-provoking, and just really completely spot on! And I’m now seriously on a mission to see “The Good Life”. Maybe Netflix has it…

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:38 pm

      I think you might like ‘The Good Life’ Hun x
      Margo was my favourite character… a great bit of 1970’s British decorating and interior design going on also…

  • anexactinglife February 7, 2012, 1:44 am

    We are thinking alike – today I was writing about what I will and won’t do for the sake of simplicity and self-sufficiency. I find myself wanting to do more and more “homemade” stuff. It’s not even about money, as you say, because sometimes it takes more time and start-up costs to do things yourself. I do think it’s getting addictive!

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Sure is! I have ready rolled puff pastry to top my slow-cooked chicken and make a pie later. And I feel guilty!

  • anexactinglife February 7, 2012, 1:44 am

    We are thinking alike – today I was writing about what I will and won’t do for the sake of simplicity and self-sufficiency. I find myself wanting to do more and more “homemade” stuff. It’s not even about money, as you say, because sometimes it takes more time and start-up costs to do things yourself. I do think it’s getting addictive!

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Sure is! I have ready rolled puff pastry to top my slow-cooked chicken and make a pie later. And I feel guilty!

  • Slackerjo February 7, 2012, 2:39 am

    I make bread/rolls from scratch all the time. Here’s a tip. Measure out most the dry ingredients (ie sugar, salt, yeast, a bit of flour) and place then in a plastic container in the fridge. When you want to make some dough, just add the wet ingredients + flour and presto, you are ready to go. I spend about 5 mins mixing the wet ingredients into a dough and place it in a bowl to rise. I have 5 round plastic ziplock containers and they sit in the back of my fridge until I want to mix up some dough.This really does save a lot of time.

    My rolls look pretty much like yours. Mmmmm, fluffy yumminess!

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:41 pm

      You can’t beat home-made bread…one of life’s simple pleasures indeed. I’ve found I even hate the packaging the bread comes in when bought from a supermarket. The amount of information on it makes my brain hurt. At least from the local bakery it comes either alfresco or in a plain paper bag. Mixing the dry ingredients may be a good idea as it can be a pain weighing everything out and the flour dust flying through the air. Good tip!

  • Slackerjo February 7, 2012, 2:39 am

    I make bread/rolls from scratch all the time. Here’s a tip. Measure out most the dry ingredients (ie sugar, salt, yeast, a bit of flour) and place then in a plastic container in the fridge. When you want to make some dough, just add the wet ingredients + flour and presto, you are ready to go. I spend about 5 mins mixing the wet ingredients into a dough and place it in a bowl to rise. I have 5 round plastic ziplock containers and they sit in the back of my fridge until I want to mix up some dough.This really does save a lot of time.

    My rolls look pretty much like yours. Mmmmm, fluffy yumminess!

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:41 pm

      You can’t beat home-made bread…one of life’s simple pleasures indeed. I’ve found I even hate the packaging the bread comes in when bought from a supermarket. The amount of information on it makes my brain hurt. At least from the local bakery it comes either alfresco or in a plain paper bag. Mixing the dry ingredients may be a good idea as it can be a pain weighing everything out and the flour dust flying through the air. Good tip!

  • Amy February 7, 2012, 4:06 am

    This is where I was at a few months ago. I Have been making all our bread, flat breads and tortillas for the past 2 months now and am loving it. When we run out I make some more and the cycle goes on. It does save money, especially rolls and tortillas, which is nice but it’s more about enjoying the process for me and having real control of my children’s diet.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:44 pm

      Hi Amy – you are so right, it’s about enjoying the process. I love showing the Kids the dough rising and the finished article. It really is worth the trouble and effort. Tortillas are amazing breads, no rising time, they also taste fab. The last time I made them I actually found myself kneading them whilst walking around the house, as it’s more a stretching and folding over process as not very sticky. Very therapeutic!

  • Amy February 7, 2012, 4:06 am

    This is where I was at a few months ago. I Have been making all our bread, flat breads and tortillas for the past 2 months now and am loving it. When we run out I make some more and the cycle goes on. It does save money, especially rolls and tortillas, which is nice but it’s more about enjoying the process for me and having real control of my children’s diet.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:44 pm

      Hi Amy – you are so right, it’s about enjoying the process. I love showing the Kids the dough rising and the finished article. It really is worth the trouble and effort. Tortillas are amazing breads, no rising time, they also taste fab. The last time I made them I actually found myself kneading them whilst walking around the house, as it’s more a stretching and folding over process as not very sticky. Very therapeutic!

  • Jo H. February 7, 2012, 4:47 am

    I am pondering your question, Jo, and I’m wondering – is it possible that a simple life is one thing and enjoying being creative is another thing? As anexactinglife points out in the comments above, doing things yourself is not necessarily more simple, but it can be more satisfying. In my case, I don’t enjoy baking, but I do enjoy sewing and other handcrafts. If I can simplify my life to allow me more time to do those creative things, I am a happier person.

    Not sure if this is making sense. You’ve given me food for thought, though!

    And, as Megyn said above, everyone’s idea of simple is different, and what feels right to you IS right for you. -Jo H.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Hey Jo! I’ve said it before ‘Simple isn’t necessarily convenient!’, you are spot on. And you are also spot on about freeing up time to do what matters to you. I’d rather spend the time making something than out shopping for it. There have been questions posed about the time I spend on things and why bother? The answer as you outline above is because it’s more satisfying. I get nothing from shopping, apart from anxiety whilst doing it and after. Great to hear you are a good seamstress! I have a few projects lined up and I’ll know where to come for advice.

  • Jo H. February 7, 2012, 4:47 am

    I am pondering your question, Jo, and I’m wondering – is it possible that a simple life is one thing and enjoying being creative is another thing? As anexactinglife points out in the comments above, doing things yourself is not necessarily more simple, but it can be more satisfying. In my case, I don’t enjoy baking, but I do enjoy sewing and other handcrafts. If I can simplify my life to allow me more time to do those creative things, I am a happier person.

    Not sure if this is making sense. You’ve given me food for thought, though!

    And, as Megyn said above, everyone’s idea of simple is different, and what feels right to you IS right for you. -Jo H.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Hey Jo! I’ve said it before ‘Simple isn’t necessarily convenient!’, you are spot on. And you are also spot on about freeing up time to do what matters to you. I’d rather spend the time making something than out shopping for it. There have been questions posed about the time I spend on things and why bother? The answer as you outline above is because it’s more satisfying. I get nothing from shopping, apart from anxiety whilst doing it and after. Great to hear you are a good seamstress! I have a few projects lined up and I’ll know where to come for advice.

  • Apple February 7, 2012, 10:30 am

    “The less I purchase, the less I want to.”
    You are not the only crazy minimalist! Socrates was one of our kind as well! 🙂 🙂

    I have been getting a kick out of window-shopping and looking at all the things I do not want, do not need. And as regards creating: it makes me happy to cook food from the fresh ingredients, to bake and not to simply get cakes from the bakery, to make my own baking powder/lemon/vinegar cleaning ‘products’.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:51 pm

      Hi Laura – looks like we are in good company eh? 😉
      Funny you should mention getting a kick out of window-shopping. I’ve started watching adverts in a similar way, bemused as to who would want such an item (If you could see me now I’m actually scratching my head at the mo!). I’ve started to question my sanity as I look around and my thoughts on such things seem to be getting further and further away from mainstream. With you on the cleaning products – nowt as effective as good ole water and elbow grease.

  • Apple February 7, 2012, 10:30 am

    “The less I purchase, the less I want to.”
    You are not the only crazy minimalist! Socrates was one of our kind as well! 🙂 🙂

    I have been getting a kick out of window-shopping and looking at all the things I do not want, do not need. And as regards creating: it makes me happy to cook food from the fresh ingredients, to bake and not to simply get cakes from the bakery, to make my own baking powder/lemon/vinegar cleaning ‘products’.

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:51 pm

      Hi Laura – looks like we are in good company eh? 😉
      Funny you should mention getting a kick out of window-shopping. I’ve started watching adverts in a similar way, bemused as to who would want such an item (If you could see me now I’m actually scratching my head at the mo!). I’ve started to question my sanity as I look around and my thoughts on such things seem to be getting further and further away from mainstream. With you on the cleaning products – nowt as effective as good ole water and elbow grease.

  • Apple February 7, 2012, 12:27 pm

    On another note. I know women who work full time, have demanding careers. After picking up their kids from childcare at 6pm, then get home where the remains of breakfast and the morning rush is still around, it is difficult to start baking bread, peel potatoes, carrots and marinate the chicken before checking the kids’ homework, and start the whole bedtime-routine with them. 🙂
    I feel lucky. Even though I am studying, as I only work part time I have the luxury of time to cook, bake and spend time on making things instead of conveniently throwing items into my shopping basket.
    It mightn’t have been the initial intention of your post Jo, but thank you for reminding me how lucky I am. 🙂

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:53 pm

      As I mentioned above ‘simple doesn’t necessarily mean convenient’… it’s important to define that. Baking bread isn’t for everyone… and as for making yoghurt, the day I do that I know I’ve crossed the line and there’s no way back 🙂 (that day may very well come!)

      • anexactinglife February 7, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Ha ha! My “no going back line” is if I grow my own tomatoes (not happening!)

      • Apple February 7, 2012, 2:24 pm

        I’d need a brain-transplant before making any yoghurt. My dream is to have my own fruit and vegetable garden, and bees for honey. 🙂

        • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 6:38 pm

          Oh if only we could all emigrate to ‘simple island’ and live a life of growing veggies! Who’s in? 🙂 (as long as it didn’t end up like ‘The Beach’!)

  • Apple February 7, 2012, 12:27 pm

    On another note. I know women who work full time, have demanding careers. After picking up their kids from childcare at 6pm, then get home where the remains of breakfast and the morning rush is still around, it is difficult to start baking bread, peel potatoes, carrots and marinate the chicken before checking the kids’ homework, and start the whole bedtime-routine with them. 🙂
    I feel lucky. Even though I am studying, as I only work part time I have the luxury of time to cook, bake and spend time on making things instead of conveniently throwing items into my shopping basket.
    It mightn’t have been the initial intention of your post Jo, but thank you for reminding me how lucky I am. 🙂

    • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 12:53 pm

      As I mentioned above ‘simple doesn’t necessarily mean convenient’… it’s important to define that. Baking bread isn’t for everyone… and as for making yoghurt, the day I do that I know I’ve crossed the line and there’s no way back 🙂 (that day may very well come!)

      • anexactinglife February 7, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Ha ha! My “no going back line” is if I grow my own tomatoes (not happening!)

      • Apple February 7, 2012, 2:24 pm

        I’d need a brain-transplant before making any yoghurt. My dream is to have my own fruit and vegetable garden, and bees for honey. 🙂

        • simplybeingmum February 7, 2012, 6:38 pm

          Oh if only we could all emigrate to ‘simple island’ and live a life of growing veggies! Who’s in? 🙂 (as long as it didn’t end up like ‘The Beach’!)

  • Lisa February 8, 2012, 1:30 pm

    I found “Living in the Past” on youtube in case anyone is interested in seeing it.

    • Lisa February 8, 2012, 1:35 pm

      Actually, once I went in to look at it, it isn’t the original series but a retrospective done sometime in the last ten years or so. It is still interesting, though.

      • simplybeingmum February 8, 2012, 1:41 pm

        Hi Lisa – I never thought of looking on You Tube. It would be fantastic to see whether my memory has held of what the show was like, or whether I have added things in. I believe there were pan pipes playing as the incidental music. With regard it not being the original, I will be checking it out regardless, but I think they did a ‘back to’ series in 2001 or something along that. It includes some of the children (now adults) from the ’78 series. Will be taking a look – Thanks for that! Jo

  • Lisa February 8, 2012, 1:30 pm

    I found “Living in the Past” on youtube in case anyone is interested in seeing it.

    • Lisa February 8, 2012, 1:35 pm

      Actually, once I went in to look at it, it isn’t the original series but a retrospective done sometime in the last ten years or so. It is still interesting, though.

      • simplybeingmum February 8, 2012, 1:41 pm

        Hi Lisa – I never thought of looking on You Tube. It would be fantastic to see whether my memory has held of what the show was like, or whether I have added things in. I believe there were pan pipes playing as the incidental music. With regard it not being the original, I will be checking it out regardless, but I think they did a ‘back to’ series in 2001 or something along that. It includes some of the children (now adults) from the ’78 series. Will be taking a look – Thanks for that! Jo

  • WilliamB February 9, 2012, 7:09 pm

    For me, doing/making things myself is a combination of health, pleasure, and frugality. For example
    – I make my own laundry detergent because it costs 90-95% less and takes 10 minutes;
    – I make my own bread (not often because it’s not a commonly eaten item in my house) because mine is healthier and tastier, and I like cooking; the cost saving is secondary;
    – I buy pastured meat because its tastier, better for the animals and the environment; I buy it in bulk because it’s cheaper but I haven’t calculated how long it will take to balance out the new chest freezer.

    Everyone has zir limits. Reading the Tightwad Gazette made me realize I’ve reached mine. There are about 3 ideas in that entire book that I’m interested in trying. And you’ll only take away my cleaning lady when you pry her from my cold, dead hands.

    • simplybeingmum February 9, 2012, 8:57 pm

      Please comment more often…you make me laugh so much! (in a good way!)

  • WilliamB February 9, 2012, 7:09 pm

    For me, doing/making things myself is a combination of health, pleasure, and frugality. For example
    – I make my own laundry detergent because it costs 90-95% less and takes 10 minutes;
    – I make my own bread (not often because it’s not a commonly eaten item in my house) because mine is healthier and tastier, and I like cooking; the cost saving is secondary;
    – I buy pastured meat because its tastier, better for the animals and the environment; I buy it in bulk because it’s cheaper but I haven’t calculated how long it will take to balance out the new chest freezer.

    Everyone has zir limits. Reading the Tightwad Gazette made me realize I’ve reached mine. There are about 3 ideas in that entire book that I’m interested in trying. And you’ll only take away my cleaning lady when you pry her from my cold, dead hands.

    • simplybeingmum February 9, 2012, 8:57 pm

      Please comment more often…you make me laugh so much! (in a good way!)

  • Libby February 10, 2012, 1:31 pm

    One of the things I’ve struggled with and mostly come to peace with is that living a frugal & simplier life is out-of-step with the majority culture here in the USA. As a society we are still very focused on consuming. Reading blogs with similar values has helped to shore up my resolve as well as seeing the benefits over time of the frugal & simplier choices I’ve made.

    In terms of where this will lead you, as long as it is pleasing to you and your family I say keep doing it! You are laying an excellent foundation for your children. When they are adults, they won’t be afraid to make choices that may require a frugal lifestyle. They will be able to detach “what they are passionate about” from “how can I earn a lot of money”.

    • simplybeingmum February 10, 2012, 6:25 pm

      Libby – totally! The UK isn’t so different from the US. I’m outta step also, but happy being so. The external influences are something we all deal with, and if it were only me then it would be easier but having Kids is a whole different ball game. How do you know if you have the balance correct? I certainly do not want them to lead a life of deprivation, and I don’t see it as that, as to me stuff (aka retail therapy) doesn’t equate satisfaction. But how do they see it? I’m trying to apply common sense… reading blogs and connecting with like-minded people is critical. Otherwise you would doubt your sanity, when others around you are doing things differently and you don’t quite get it. That’s not to say they haven’t got it right – who knows…what’s right for them isn’t necessarily right for you. We all have our own lives to lead.
      Interestingly I was bought up quite in a rather frugal environment, so maybe that does make a difference long-term.

  • Libby February 10, 2012, 1:31 pm

    One of the things I’ve struggled with and mostly come to peace with is that living a frugal & simplier life is out-of-step with the majority culture here in the USA. As a society we are still very focused on consuming. Reading blogs with similar values has helped to shore up my resolve as well as seeing the benefits over time of the frugal & simplier choices I’ve made.

    In terms of where this will lead you, as long as it is pleasing to you and your family I say keep doing it! You are laying an excellent foundation for your children. When they are adults, they won’t be afraid to make choices that may require a frugal lifestyle. They will be able to detach “what they are passionate about” from “how can I earn a lot of money”.

    • simplybeingmum February 10, 2012, 6:25 pm

      Libby – totally! The UK isn’t so different from the US. I’m outta step also, but happy being so. The external influences are something we all deal with, and if it were only me then it would be easier but having Kids is a whole different ball game. How do you know if you have the balance correct? I certainly do not want them to lead a life of deprivation, and I don’t see it as that, as to me stuff (aka retail therapy) doesn’t equate satisfaction. But how do they see it? I’m trying to apply common sense… reading blogs and connecting with like-minded people is critical. Otherwise you would doubt your sanity, when others around you are doing things differently and you don’t quite get it. That’s not to say they haven’t got it right – who knows…what’s right for them isn’t necessarily right for you. We all have our own lives to lead.
      Interestingly I was bought up quite in a rather frugal environment, so maybe that does make a difference long-term.

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