Everything I do seems to have a sequel.  It’s funny how life can be like that.  I really felt that some points needed to be addressed, however.  There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the Unseen Poor.  Let’s kick back with a cuppa and have a chat about a few of them, shall we?  Make yourself comfortable and come sit with me.  Keep your coat on, it’s not cold enough for heating, but you’re probably going to feel the chill in my house if you’re not used to it.  My family and I are used to it.  Our old house never had heating for three years, thanks to an indifferent and incompetent landlord.  While being evicted when he sold the house was distressing and has left me terrified it will happen again, this house is better.  Even with penetrating damp, crumbling walls and mould.  We had white fluffy mould and green mildew in the last house–this time we have black mould.  It’s good to switch it up, don’t you think?  Look carefully and you can make patterns and faces from it.  It passes the time.

Comfy?  As warm as you’re likely to get?  Great!  Let’s do this thing…

  • Jamie Oliver did not deserve your anger.  How dare you insult him?  He’s trying to help you, you ungrateful b**ch.  Get a grip, he’s doing the best he can.

Okay, now.  Hold your horses and calm down a little.  Take a deep calming breath.

My post was not a direct attack at Jamie personally.  I am disappointed that I am unlikely to get the chance to divorce ‘The Hubs’ and marry Jamie now, but it was not a sensationalist piece of writing done with the sole aim to piss off all my fellow Jamie fans.  What angered me is that the tag line for his show was “You Can Eat Like A King Whatever Your Budget.”  My budget, Jamie, is £45 a week to feed a family of five.   I eat healthy and I eat well, but it sure ain’t like a king.

I manage to do it and I never said I could not feed my children.  I said that there are times I might have to make do with a bowl of rice, so they can eat the 20p packet of spaghetti with a home made tomato sauce, pimped up with some Tesco Value dried oregano, so it tastes Italian.  I have said that there are times that I can’t afford to heat my house (I already spend £20 a week on gas, thanks to the meter taking a debt as well) and I have to choose between heating, or buying food.  I will drink a lot of water, instead of eating a lunch, if the cupboards are depleted.  The kids need that food, I am old enough to wait and bide awhile.  My mum helps a lot, but I do get by on the budget I have.  I don’t find it too hard, either.  I never meant to imply that £45 is not enough for food, it is.  Mostly.

Now, Jamie, what upset me…really upset me to the point of nearly crying, was when you, on your programme, Money Saving Meals, tried to tell me, with my £45 a week food budget, that I could save money by buying a £22 shoulder of lamb.  I am certain Jack Monroe was likewise appalled at the blasé presumption that this richly priced joint of meat could ever be seen as affordable by a large portion of the people you purport to be helping.  I hope that clears it up a little bit for anyone who thought I was simply laying into you for no reason.  My ire was not only directed at you, but at the producers, programme developers and all the rest of you who, rightly, do not have to live as I do.  It is not budget.  Give me a call, Jamie–you taught me all I know, I would be more than happy to teach you in return.  I make a wicked vegetable curry.

  • Sell your computer.  Get rid of your TV.  You have luxury items.

No, no and…no.

This is indicative of how well we are socially conditioned to believe those left wanting can heal their situation simply by getting rid of parts of their lives deemed superfluous.  My children, the three at home, are all at school.  Their homework requires the internet.  A lot does.  My son’s college course is entirely computer based (it is a computer course, so this makes sense).  He would love a laptop, but I can’t get him one.  He works part time and has recently had to purchase a new bed for himself as I could not afford it.  He went to Ikea and got a nice one–and my youngest daughter received a ‘new’ mattress as a result.  This is how things work, you see?  We re-use, recycle, stick together and get on through!  We have the one computer, which is my main source of income.  I am an author, I am just starting, in the scheme of things.  I have no agent, no publicist, no advertising budget aside from my Facebook Page and word of mouth.  And now this blog.  Yes, I will use it to promote my work; I self publish and I am only just starting to see anything come from it.  I had my first book out for free, to get my name seen, for several months, while I wrote the sequel.  I write–it is how I will make money and get off benefits.  If there are any legit agents out there…well, you know, I’m free.  You all rejected me once, but I’m open to the idea of a second chance 😉

To tell me to lose the web and to sell my PC (A GIFT FROM A FRIEND) is to tell my children they cannot do their coursework, studies, homework and research to the absolute best standard available to them in this country.  It is to tell me I do not have the right to work as an author.  Work.  I do not, as has been said, lounge around writing blogs for my entertainment.  I am a selling author and have been for 7 months.  I have no intention and no reason to sell the TV.  It is the only one in the house, and the kids enjoy it.  Why shouldn’t they?  Giving up the TV will not make the hard times better.  These suggestions are painful to read.  You are telling me that I can ‘fix’ my poverty by removing a television and my source of income.  It’s not fair to assume a torn off limb could be mended with a plaster; please realise this situation is not going to be helped by losing my children’s source of enjoyment and it will be worsened if I cannot write and earn royalties from my books.

Thank you so much, all of you who bought a book.  You have no idea how fast the 29p royalties add up when hundreds are buying.

  • You took your daughter to Cardiff

This one is an easy one.  I should not have to justify taking one of my four children somewhere for their birthday, but I will.  I’ll also tell you how I did it.

Meg, my daughter, turned 16 shortly after the new year.  All of her friends are doing the big American parties and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ stuff.  I said I would try and find a free hall, maybe pay for a DJ and lay out an Iceland Party-Style buffet.  She said no, thank you but no thank you, because it would end up very expensive and she’d have nothing to show for it afterwards.  She said it was a waste of money.  I save up for the Big occasions, and 16 is a milestone.  I told Meg I would give her a party, that I could afford it.  She said no.  She asked, instead, to go to The Doctor Who Experience.  She asked in October–do you know many 15 year old girls who would have the foresight to ask 4 months in advance to go to to something where the tickets cost £16.00 for an adult?  Me neither, but my daughter did just that.  I Immediately went onto hostelworld.com.  They gather all the backpacker hostels on one site, you punch in a postcode, they show you what’s available in that area.  We stayed in a room with bunk beds and a single bed.  My mum came to help cover the cost of the room, and to buy us some food while we were there.  Luckily, the Nomad has a big kitchen you can use, so it’s almost like self catering.  They also feed you cereal in the morning.  All this is £40 a night for the room and breakfast for three people.  I booked in October and paid a £20 deposit.  I then started squirrelling the money away for the extortionate train tickets and the tickets for Doctor Who himself.

We did not spend a fortune in the mall–I said go prepared to spend a lot, because it is very expensive…if you buy anything.  I should have added that we window shopped in that mall for 6 hours.  It was good fun.  They have a Lego Store and we looked at individual Lego, but we did not buy any.  We walked to Cardiff Castle, and we looked at that too.  We did not pay £22 each to walk up the stairs and actually see it.  That’s how much they charge, to walk past the gates.  I never had that much in my purse, not for me and Meg to go.  Had she really wanted to have seen inside, I would have paid for her ticket and sat looking at the walls, with my mum.  Meg said no.  The Saturday night was spent in the recreation room of the Nomad, talking to a backpacker and watching the voice, munching on a Tesco salad bowl.  The high life of luxury?  Not quite.

I loved visiting, but I found it over priced and impossible, even though I left all my family at home, bar one daughter.  Please do not resent her birthday present.  She has a right to be allowed gifts and treats, just the same as other children.  Without my mum, we could not have gone at all.

  • You should not have bred.  You shouldn’t have had children.  You’re not fit to parent.  You should have got Critical Illness Cover.  Kill yourself, they’ll be better off.  Just go die somewhere and stop moaning.  You should have insurance.  You should have saved.

This is simply ignorance at its best, isn’t it?

Because I am poor, I should not have children?  I work and work hard.  So does my husband.  We did not know what was coming and we were young enough to feel immortal.  Why would I have thought of critical illness cover?  I have life insurance–when this illness kills me, which it will one day, my husband and children will be shooting out of this poverty trap.  I have to die to fix this.  I will not cancel an insurance I had the foresight to take out aged 22.  Not to save pennies.  It’s a good policy and I got it before my condition.  It will leave my family comfortable.  I myself will be going off to medical science when I do die.  Rest assured, it won’t be because I have taken the above advice though–that would void my insurance.

On a side note, when I said ‘the good times’ they were simply comfortable, not rich.  I could fill my cupboards and not worry about feeding us all.  I was able to replace shoes/trainers and I could meet expenses.  At no point have I had enough to take my kids abroad.  They have been on two Haven Holidays; one in 2004, to Warmwell (it was amazing, even though I was pregnant), and one in 2006, just before it all went downhill, to Clacton-On-Sea.  They loved it and I hope to be able to go again, one day.

Now that’s over, onto the good stuff!!! (Yay, I was depressing myself, and I’m not a gloomy kind of gal.)

  • Food Banks do not require Social Services Intervention.  You will not be deemed as Too Poor To Parent, if you go to your GP and get a referral.  The Citizens’ Advice Bureau can also do this, as do some churches, outreach programs and community-based groups.  Some do not need a referral.  If you are in dire need and cannot find these resources, please contact your local Sikh Temple.  I was contacted by a few dozen lovely people from a temple who said all are welcome to sit with them, enjoy a vegetarian meal.  It is, to the Sikh Community, a religious obligation to help their fellow humans and treat all equally.  They will welcome you and your children.  Women, please wear a headscarf, if you have no scarf, they will supply one for you.
  • There are a lot of benefits a lot of the ‘invisible working poor’ are not aware of.  If you are struggling, please go to your Citizens’ Advice Centre.  They will make bloody sure you are getting all you can.  I have done this and I *do* receive all I am entitled to.  It is simply not enough to cover rent, council tax, heating, water, electric, other bills…you get the idea.  You, though, may be in a different place and there may be more help available to you.  I shall be applying for this PIP allowance everyone has told me about.  I have had a little over a thousand messages and comments telling me about this.  I was turned down for DLA, but who knows, eh?  I’ll be doing that next week.
  • There are community groups that might sound a bit like a communist soup kitchen to the uninitiated, but are actually amazing when you delve a bit deeper.  These places will have community gardens and often an attached hall.  Sign up, learn some gardening, cook and eat what you grow with new friends–all in the same boat.  You can ask about these at your local council offices.
  • Poverty is a big issue amongst LGBT people.  Please know there is support and people out there who will be able to talk to you and help you.  There is no need to be alone.  If you want advice, a chat, or help with anything, please contact Stonewall as a starting point–they will point you in the right direction.
  • You can get emergency payments to cover rent, from your local council, if you are entitled.  It is not simply Housing Benefit.  This is a further award that might be given, if you are in dire straits.
  • There are support groups as well.  These vary considerably depending on where you live, but they should be there.  If not, come out as ‘poor’ and see if one can be started.  I have had an overwhelming response.  Not simply from people who are jobless and on JSA, but nurses, teachers, office staff, waiting staff–the list is as varied as any community ever is.  I…we…are not alone, and we have nothing at all to be ashamed of.  Poverty shaming only works if you allow it to work.  Group together and stand tall.

Please please please feel free to contact me via my Facebook Page if you need a friendly ear, or are unsure of which way to turn, just email me or send me a FB Message.  You are not alone.  I have asked a friend and my husband to help admin the site.  We are keeping on top of all messages and, where we can, we will point you in the right direction, if you need help.  Even if you just need to offload and reach out to someone, that’s okay too.  Please be aware that my page is all about full equality in all things.  Please be respectful of everyone who likes it and pops by to visit.  We’re a motley bunch of all things Rainbow.  We don’t care how you identify, what your sexual preference is, or where you come from.  You will be welcomed.

I would also like to say if you would like to donate and help food poverty, contact your local food banks or The Trussel Trust, who will be able to help you.

Please feel free to pick up one of my books (shameless plug, I know, but it is seriously the only job I have to be able to work my way out of the Grey Area).  The series is called Searching For Eden, and there are currently two books available here (uk) and here (rest of world).  The paperback of #1, Into The Woods, can be found here.

Thank you all again for all the support.  I am humbled by you all.

69 thoughts on “The Upsetting Truth…Part Two!

  1. Please do not let the haters get you down. You are doing amazingly. I have been unemployed and indeed homeless myself. I often survived on a weekly food budget of £5 – £10 tops and continued to pay for mobile broadband so I could apply for an average of 200 jobs a week. Jamie’s shows are something I still watch, but I too had to snigger in disbelief as to what constituted as “budget” food in Jamie’s world.

    Your kids sound amazing that they have taken in the situation but not become disheartened, and are actually pulling together. Full credit to you, your hubby and, of course, the kids.

    Fingers crossed things start to pick up for you x

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I am a Prison Librarian. The entire atmosphere in incarceration is one of poverty (emotional, monetary, material), but the exchanges between all at a prison are not dissimilar to what you have here. MOST will be supportive, thankful, or silent but happy.
      Some will troll with anger. I think ALL are seeking genuine contact with you someone they have grown to admirer and these transactions(blogs,comments) provide that. Even the hateful baiters will be somewhat satisfied with this post and comments. So keep being you and yes follow your heart on donations because you will always in the end be the person that faces all of the your readers.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hello, why don’t you accept the money that’s offered to you? If not for yourself than at least for your children. Noble feelings and pride don’t go with poverty. As unfortunate as it is, you live in a world where everything depends on money. You just have to look at it in a different way. You accept money not for your personal profit, nooooooo, you accept money so that the people who gave you their money can have this feeling of doing something good for somebody. Here is that little bit of satisfaction for doing a good deed that you can give them. Who are you to deprive them from that???

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Why do you feel the need to bring her children into it? You state that giving this lady money, will give those people a sense of satisfaction, yet a link has been provided for those people to donate to a charity that will improve not just the lives of this author and her family, but that of countless families. Her children sound like selfless, understanding caring and mature individuals, who I am sure themselves would rather this money went to help many others. Who are you to deprive the needs of the many over the few?

        Liked by 4 people

    3. I am stunned, absolutely stunned, that you have been forced to justify yourself at all. I would love Jamie to do a programme for budgets of £45, £90 and £135 so that people can see the difference.

      Liked by 8 people

    4. Hey I read your post and it hit home. I live in Canada so, like the UK, a rich country. I grew up very comfortable and am very well educated. I have worked as a well-paid professional, uninterrupted, for 15 years. Only now though am I starting to feel a little secure. When my kids were very small, my job moved me to a very expensive city. We had to sell our house and buy a new one at double the price (I say “had to” because if we didn’t the company wouldn’t pay for the move – it’s complicated). Long story short, I came to know very well that the feeling of “having money” can go away very quickly. Insecurity, worry, stress, anger. It happens and it can happen quickly and unpredictably. Even now that I feel a little more secure (by which I mean I make enough money to meet our modest expenses – but not enough to substantially pay down our debt), I know that this can change in unforeseen ways. There’s a song by a great Canadian band, Blue Rodeo, about this very thing. One line goes: “when all your bills come due, it can happen to you”. I’ve experienced it. People shouldn’t judge. As my father has said many times, “There but for the grace of God”. I’m not particularly religious but it speaks to the idea that we’re all vulnerable to the circumstances we’re in. Keep your head up. People who plug away and create will make their way to where they want to be.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You should not need to justify your decisions and people can be rather over judgmentAl sometimes. I have enjoyed reading both pieces so thank you and keep going.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. There’s something about it that makes me think that the cause will be taken a lot less seriously if people see me ‘making money’ from this. They will gleefully shout ‘fraud’ and it will be detrimental, perhaps, in the long run. Everything is being done with the support of my family, after discussion, though. You are not the first to say that people are frustrated to be denied the ‘gift of giving’ and I do understand that, however, it is something I will have to think very carefully about 🙂
      Thank you for your lovely words

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Why not think of it as being paid to tell your story? Not your novels, YOUR story. People pay 70p a week to read articles in a magazine, why not let people who read your blog send you money if they want to? They could be sending it out of recognition for your writing skill and the time and effort you have put into your writing, NOT out of pity!!

        I would cheerfully pay 70p a time to read your blog! You have a wonderful way of writing and putting a point across with humour and feeling but no self pity. I am so pleased a friend shared this as her status and brought you into my life and i eagerly await your next blog whilst I download Kindle to my tablet (technotard here, this could take some time) and then i will purchase your books. Do you get more money from the paperbacks??

        Adie x

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am now going to use the term technotard as much as I possibly can. It actually just made me laugh, loudly, and I’m still smiling. Thank you for the comment, I will take it under consideration, but I’m just leery of reactions and my own conscience. There are so many people offering, and then I would have *too* much and a ball would have started rolling that will slide down a very slippery slope indeed. But we shall see.
          I hope you enjoy the books, if you choose to purchase them. I had a great time writing them; it’s an amazing feeling to think other people will love reading them, hopefully xx

          All the best, and thank you for taking the time to think of messaging me – it’s lovely of you
          Kathleen x


  3. I am not surprised that you’ve had to endure hate mail from some people. It is very easy to make assumptions about other people, a lot easier than flexing a bit of empathy. You’re clearly more than able to defend yourself but know that there are many, many people on your side.
    I too have been in your situation and would be now if I didn’t have a husband who works as hard as I do but with more recognition. We dont have much but we stretch it and survive. I bought your books, I wanted to feel like I could help, I can only afford the kindle versions but if my 29p or so helps at all then I’m a happy bear! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I find it so horrifying that people felt the need to leave you negative derogatory comments. You are clearly doing the best you can in a bad or difficult situation, and nowadays people in the same situation are everywhere around us. Some too ashamed to admit it due to the social stigma, or afraid of the hate and total ignorance they may face, as you have. People need to wake up to the fact that our consumerist society, our poorly run benefits system, and our power and money hungry government are causing an epidemic of hidden poor. They could be anyone and it could happen to anyone, no one should be reading this on a moral high horse feeling smug as next year it could be you living on the bones of your ass.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. People will offer pointless advice or throw hate mail at you because they believe that they only have to tread the “right” path and they can avoid your fate. It is inherently human, understandable and yet truly frustrating for those of us who know it only takes one turn of the wheel of fortune in the wrong direction to leave you scraping to get by. The wealthy (and I speak as relatively comfortable in my finances) can just throw money at a problem….but believing we are in control is foolish. It can happen to us all. I wish you well. You have a talent, and determination. You have your health (I know it has not always been so), your family, and a way with words, and I know that when like me, you make it out the other side, you will not forget, and continue to offer your support around you. And your realism. I really feel the haters just have a serious lack of imagination…pity them. They will not be able to cope when it is their turn.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just a quick (mostly off topic) note about Cardiff. I completely agree that Cardiff Castle is overpriced, however, there’s free entry into all our museums, one off which is a couple of minutes walk from the town centre. St Fagans is a real treat and and gain, as a museum it’s free to enter. We also gave a LOT of parks. Maybe December isn’t the best time to visit those but summer time, with a picnic and a family all say bus pass, you could have a ball. Best of luck to you and your family. I wish you well x

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi, maybe completely irrelevant, but if you have the tiniest bit of a garden, plant raspberry canes. They grow like weeds, require hardly any maintenance and if you know someone with raspberries ask for a free cutting? I planted 6 plants and had a bowl of fruit from end of July to November with a 3 week break in between for the last 5 years. And the satisfaction you get when you see the price of the tiny punnet in a supermarket! I have to admit, most other stuff in my garden costs me more to produce than to buy but that’s another story..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unfortunately, for reasons that are and shall likely remain a mystery to me, despite having a flourishing little vegetable patch in the border of my old garden (runner beans and peas), this garden only likes to grow mildew and mould. And a single lonely bush, next to a palm tree. (We have bets on the palm tree toppling every storm season)
      Thank you very much for the suggestion though – it is certainly something that many people with an obedient garden will benefit from 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. your upbeat, down to earth attitude is brilliant, you deserve your books to do well and if this blog is anything to go by you have no problems, i do hope these morons who gave you sound advice on selling the tv, killing yourself, etc fall on hard times, karma is a bitch. thankyou Kathleen for this, i do hope your future is much brighter and your health improves so you can enjoy the royalties from future books and your husband and yourself can enjoy living “comfortably” again. we have been in your posistion many times when our children where small, i have endured cancer x4, and ended up having 2 colostomy surgeries, i was given the “final” all clear 2 1/2 yrs ago only to find a few months later my husband had cancer and within 3 weeks passed away, it will be 2 yrs in April but i know he is with me as around the time of his memorium i have a grandson due to carry on the family name for him and my middle daughter is getting married in May so this year has to be the start of being the future for me and our children,. i hope you have a very happy future and will look forward to buying your book………..ps i feckin hate Jamie Oliver haha x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your struggles with health and the loss of your husband. That must be so hard to comprehend and come to terms with. I am pleased also that your future is starting to look brighter! Karma…what goes around comes around, and I am sure you will always be held safe in the love of your family.
      Congratulations on the exciting news of a new baby! Look to the future x
      All the best

      Liked by 1 person

  9. thank you for sharing this you should get some advice on your gas debt which should not take you below a certain level of income if you have children in the house


  10. I’m unemployed, deemed unfit to work by ATOS. People seem to think that because I receive both ESA and PIP that I can afford to eat well. I can’t. I live off of noodles and ready meals because I can’t afford to buy an electric oven. Yes I receive housing benefit and council tax benefit, and if you saw how high my council tax is you, like me, would dread the day you started working a full time job, and would receive no help.
    But just because I have these benefits, that doesn’t mean I’m living. It’s still hard, and I live alone. People have got to realise that we on benefits are not moochers or scroungers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, do you have a welfare fund where you are? Your local council may have funds for loans or grants for a cooker. Or try the British Gas energy trust for a grant for a cooker. And if you’re on income related benefits you could get a budgeting loan from the dwp, but try for a grant first.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for pointing out that not all Foodbanks need referrals. The two church run ones near me welcome anyone in need who turns up. (Just don’t tell the Mail or IDS!). Where are you? (I’m proud we do this. I’m amazed at people’s generosity. I’m angry and ashamed we have too).

    I felt slightly sorry for Jamie. Like Economy Gastronomy, it was aimed firmly at the middle class market. People who want to reduce their outgoings, waste less etc. None of the suggestions worked unless you had money. And some were just common sense. Making a shepherd’s pie with the left over roast. Big Whoop! If they’d marketed it as that, I might not have called him quite so many rude names five minutes in either. Jack Monroe, Frugal Feeding and some of the student cookery sites are way more useful.

    You’re amazing btw. (Hope that’s not patronising!). We need more people talking about this to counter the endless nonsense that’s being pumped out by the media and the government. It’s the only way that things will change.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your posts are a moving account of the reality of life in Britian for far too many good people and families. It’s heart breaking to hear how badly we treat our most vulnerable people and I feel somewhat ashamed to partake in a society that inflicts so much unnecessary suffering on those too weak to withstand it. You seem, however, to have the mental strength of a Roman legion and this virtue is something that will always make the hard times bearable and the good times a gift.

    I really admire your spirit in trying to work your way out of your situation with your writing but I do worry that you might be turning down support that people genuinely want to offer. The government is next to useless at supporting the working poor and the invisibly impoverished. I was once too sick to work but too well for benefits and slipped in between all of the available benefits – it was hellish and the help was simply not there.

    Luckily I had family that helped with the basics and a landlord that was willing to wait for rent (being under 35 I was only entitled to what amounted to one third of my rent.) I too had paid taxes and worked all my life to be completely failed by the systems – I have no idea how these so called scroungers could possibly exist – as with genuine problems, I couldn’t get much at all – they are just a convenient scapegoat for a posturing elitist, out of touch ruling class.

    Your dignity is completely intact and would remain so even if you accept offers of support, I can understand your reasons for not accepting but I really urge you to reconsider. Maybe you could do something like launch a kick starter project and get funding for a new book before you have written it, offer some quirky prizes for supporters and allow your readers to help you financially, give you an aim for your creative writing and some much needed relief in the short term, all without feeling like you are taking donations. We want to help and anyone who criticises you for accepting it doesn’t deserve your second thought. Your kickstarter project could be a completely commercial venture – but if people want to pay more for your work, let them.

    Wishing you love, strength and continued happiness.

    B x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Here Here, my husband & I too have been in this position, we have had to ask for help from DHSS for oil & food, or got referred to a foodbank here in NI. for the weekend that his 2 boys from previous marriage came to stay with us at the weekend from Friday through to late Sunday Afternoon. I see that you would by food from Tesco but what I have found is that Asda/Walmart are even better, cheaper & better quality food, so please take my advise & use Asda instead & you be able to buy twice the amount that Tesco has to offer, & Asda own green & white lable foods really do taste better that Tesco Blue & white labelled brands. Also Citizens Advice will do a benefit check to see if you are getting everything you are entitled to under the circumstances. I hope that this is helpful to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I tend to buy Tesco as it’s just up the road and my hubby can carry the shopping back home, We don’t drive and any further brings cab fares as no bus from me to Asda. I tend to leave the Asda shop for ‘monthly’, and walk there and taxi home, then ‘top up’ at the Tesco 🙂 Thank you for the thought though xx


  14. Many people are missing the point, there are millions of people struggling as you have described. You are doing the world a great service by articulating the experience in a way that makes it clear, understandable and undeniable. It stops the propaganda that poverty is a myth in the first world. It is very real and very real for a growing number of people.
    Thank you so much and keep up the great work, you are doing a great service to millions of people who are living a life similar to your life, please keep writing about this hidden poverty.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Well, what do I write? I sit here, writing, then deleting my comment………… You are strong, determined and you WILL succeed. My situation is, and never was, as grave as yours. I admire you. Most people do not know the difference between ‘Poor’ and ‘Dole wolla’, especially the politicians.
    I too had a good job, once.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. poverty, just like the hydra, is a many headed beast but sadly it is often viewed as a single headed monster with a specific set of governing criteria that affects only a set minority (the lower class)…the assumption that many choose to be victims of poverty is blind and naive belief…….this belief that those in poverty should be devoid of right where certain common ‘luxury’ items are concerned ( television, internet. computers, nice clothes, birthdays, the list goes on) just illustrates the ignorance of the inexperienced and the level of deserving based on class that they seek……. ‘sell that gifted t.v. / computer’ now this is a statement that makes me smile, those that really understand the poverty beast would not be so small minded to sell such a gifted item for such a short monetary ‘fix’, those with a real understanding have a greater sense of value for that item and a higher level of respect for the giver of the gift, for when you experience the real throws of poverty you you understand the work involved in obtaining such an item….being in poverty does not mean you are undeserving of any of the ‘luxuries’ in this world, it just means they are a long way out of your financial grasp and a lot harder to come by, quite often only when the gift horse visits your ‘stable’………….poverty is often ‘publicized’ with a dark, dirty and seedy patina what you are doing here is giving an insightful view of one of its lesser looked at heads .. RESPECT … carry on your great work and ignore the trolls for they are the same mindless, spiteful beings that used to hang around the corners of the playground; swamped in their own jealousy and bitter with envy …. let these people do what they need to do, everyone deserves the right to heal their wounds and sadly ‘trolling’ is the only peace they get from their inner pain ….. keep this in mind and don’t let their misguided comments hurt or sway you

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Just bought your book kathleen. Here’s a link to the free PDF I mentioned before – great if you want some very cheap recipe ideas although she is US based so some of the recipes are a bit American. If you buy the book from her then she ships a copy free to people who need it, there are some good recipes in there for everyone though regardless of your budget.

    Click to access good-and-cheap.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Just a note: A PayPal “tip jar” on your blog would not be “charity”, it’s pay for writing! It would merely allow people to pay you what they wished if they found what you wrote to be of value to them. For writers with regular blogs this is common. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with mine, but I’m not a regular blogger.


  19. Can’t agree more about so-called budget meals! May I suggest podcast or similar as a “legitimate” additional income from your blog posts? Also, can’t see as on tablet but are you offering ad slots on your blog? You have a strong following and I find the extra adds up.


  20. I feel your pain! As a single parent of two teenagers I couldn’t be without internet for budgeting. While out of work I’d scrape together pennies by doing online surveys, anything I needed to buy I’d scour the internet looking for money off, discounts, point collecting… My son’s school blazer was bought using mobile phone top up freebies. I’d double up clubcard points on train travel for days out… I do most of my food shop online as quite often delivery charges are cheaper than travel costs (Tesco is currently only £3 a month!!) Kids clothes bought as ‘bundles’ on eBay…. I could go on forever! Things have improved loads for me now, although I just face the daily guilt of working full time and feeling I’m not there for my boys as much as I should be. Gone on far too long so I’ll shut up now. Keep smiling xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Kids have a way of completely understanding the situation and to be honest like the old adage says time is more important than money. At the same time, it is nice to be able to go that extra length for them as the appreciation is palpable.
    As for some of the comments people have left it disgusts me that some people can think like this. You are doing nothing wrong and I hope that some of these cretins have to actually experience going for a few days without food. I have, and had to work 12hr shifts on top of it, it is no easy thing trying to concentrate and take part in a physical occupation when you are cramping from hunger.

    I wish you all the best for the future and I hope that your writing career gives you more than just financial stability. I enjoyed this blog and will share it far and wide, so hopefully this discrimination that is being fomented by our “loving” government is finally ousted for the complete garbage that it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I have bought your book, not because I want to give you money, but because I want to read what you write. I like the way you write and I want more (I am an avid read and always looking for new writers).

    I am not in your position, but I have come from there. I am pleased that my children have things I never could, but saddened that hard working people like yourself and your husband still struggle in this modern world.

    Keep writing,


  23. Your children sound like they’re really balanced, healthy people so I hope you and your husband feel proud of yourselves for providing them with the love that they need. Those who come from privilege (by that I mean not worrying about where the next meal is coming from) don’t seem to understand that thing aren’t always so black and white. I came from the same background, my Mum was a single parent who had a tiny budget despite working two jobs and doing illustration on the side- sometimes we were lucky to have a loaf of bread to last the week. We sold everything yet still had bailiffs banging on the door, and like you it was a choice of being warm or eating properly. Despite all this we came out of the deep end which I’m sure you will too.
    There’s no band aid to fix poverty and you have to do what you can to get through it. I cannot believe that there are people out there who try to guilt you into feeling like rubbish just because you try to give your children as normal a life as possible. Being poor is not a choice and short term fixes such as selling your tv makes life a hell of a lot harder to cope with. You are human beings who deserve happiness too, however small!. Those who feel holier than thou are normally idiots who feel it’s okay to judge others for their own failures. You’re doing a brilliant job and I hope you keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs and would like to thank you for putting into words qwerty I could not. I wish you and your family all the best. May us who live an uphill struggle come out on top and stronger for it xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi There

    I’m not the kind to normally leave comments on such articles. I’m neither overly kind enough to be all ‘Be strong girl!’ or dumb enough to join the ‘My grandparents never had tv and the internet, you’re living above your means!’ insanity.

    However there does seem to be one point I never saw mentioned by others that I believe you might want to think about. If I wanted to buy your book (which I would never read, sorry 🙂 ) to make sure you got another 29p for the pile, I would have to give 70p to ‘Amazon’. A global corporation who publically do not pay their taxes into our society thus making everyone’s lives more difficult including yours. I would be hard pressed to justify that even if it was the other way around. I feel like there may be a lot of people who read your blog or work and have no interest in the type of fiction you write but would like to contribute to you because they enjoyed your blog (or just because). Those people now see the 99p as not money-for-product, but just ‘money’ and the vast majority of it goes to a soullless corproation who contributes to the welfare state, and the NHS and everything else paid for through public funds being worse off.

    I say this in the hopes that it makes you reconsider your stance on a direct donation button. I would much rather give the 99p to you and pretend I read the book 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I have loved your two articles — not in the sense that I love the situation your family is in, but in that you have penned so brilliantly.

    As an aside, and without suggesting that every company’s taglines and slogans should be dissected, how about this email I received today from a well known magazine: “20 affordable spring buys you can wear when it’s cold”.

    This includes a £26 shirt dress, £28 jeans, £20 plimsoles, £25 cardigan, a £29 necklace (that essential stay-warm accessory…), a £194 suede bag (!), and a £24.99 “jupsuit” (I presume they were too busy laughing at how much money they’d saved to employ the services of a proofreader). And so it goes on…


  27. PS Your attitude completely justifies the research (as if it were needed) that those who are far less well off are also more empathetic and giving to others in need. I applaud your desire to see many other people helped. That said, I agree with Atermis’s point. A donation button is unobtrusive but still visible, and you don’t even have to shout about it. Those who want to, and have even a modicum of intelligence, will find and use it.

    Sure, depending on who you use, some of the money will still go to some multinational or another (PayPal, some big bank, Google…) but at least you’d get more of the share. And quite honestly, why not? OK, you’ve given reasons as to why not, and I respect them — perhaps you’d reconsider.


  28. hi Kathleen! I am touched by your blog and your struggle – I’m so sorry to hear about your health. I just wanted to encourage you that although finances are tight your family are in no ways “poor”. There are plenty of families raising kids with money but those kids are poor in other ways. You listen to your kids and obviously give them time and a safe, loving environment – they are far richer than many “rich” kids. The fact you are not wallowing but working and even helping others in an inspiration and amazing legacy to be building for your family. I’m so sorry to see some of the judgemental comments you received but you are a precious, valuable soul – I look forward to seeing you go from strength to strength. x

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Dear Kathleen,

    I followed a friend’s link to get here and glad I did. The closest we ever came to experiencing what you are right now was when the factory my dad worked in went under (twice in a few years) and he as a proud working class man was on benefits (and the second time he almost didn’t get those because of some stupid technicality on NI contributions). The panic on my mum’s face was visible as to how they were going to keep the household with three young daughters going. I can’t begin to imagine how hard you work to keep going, and am very impressed you do.

    The negative comments never cease to amaze me. I currently live in the US and here huge swathes of people are under some delusion that the reason you’re poor is that you’re just not trying hard enough and if you really BELIEVED etc etc etc America being the land of opportunity and all. They berate people in an impossible situation for having mobile phones and data plans yet it is impossible to look/apply for jobs without them. They tell them that cars are a luxury never having taken the huge pile of dung that passes for public transport here. And god forbid they should actually have a TV to provide them with some small form of entertainment. Sigh.

    On a side note, I am not religious but was raised in a Sikh household and we would occasionally see visibly suffering homeless people come in to the canteen to get some food. I’m proud that the community is reaching out to more people but sad to know they need to.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to leave a message of support (hopefully without sounding terribly patronising). Take care!


  30. Hello Kathleen

    I used to volunteer as a Welfare Rights Adviser for the CAB in the 90’s, and one of the key phrases we used in the office was “ability to pay”. We could see even then how government policies and the media’s messages were being created to produce a specific world view and perception on the haves (good) and the have nots (bad).

    Of course, as entirely expected, things have worsened dramatically since the Coalition was formed in 2010 but, in truth, we were already heading down the path of blaming and demonising the poor, the weak and the helpless. It’s easy to attack the powerless, to criticise their choices and follow the herd of popular public opinion, it actually takes a bit of effort to look behind the curtain and see the mechanisms of society, its structure and how it rewards some and punishes others.

    We are four months’ away from a potential new government. Will this issue of the invisible poor or the financially struggling appear in the glossy brochures, the endless TV appearances and the Right Wing media, or will it all be about “hardworking taxpayers”, “wealth creation”, “austerity” and “we’re all in it together”? Soundbites rule, I think!

    I wish you and your family well and NEVER VOTE TORY!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I wanted to say you’re doing an amazing job, after everything life’s thrown at you and your doing all you can within your power to maintain upbeat and vigilant on your quest to support your family and I admire that.
    I came from a single parent household and sometimes my father would only have a marmite sandwich for dinner so I could have a hot meal before bed some nights as there wasn’t enough money for both of us to even have Tesco value chips and a turkey escallops (this is back in the 90’s). I never knew this growing up of course as he kept how bad the situation was away from me. I’ve no idea how he did it. Now as an adult I realize how tough things where when I was young, and I appreciate all he did a lot more.
    Your kids sound amazing, especially since one of them likes Doctor Who (woot) keep going the way you’re going and you’ll be an e-book sensation before you know it!
    P/S bought your 1st book, going to read it this week and most likely buy the second as I’m sure if the writing is as good as your blog I’ll love it! 😀


  32. The system in place is for the benefit of people who do not need it at the cost of people who do. I have four children my partner works he recently took a massive reduction in pay, at the same time tax credits decided they had overpayed us by around £2000 how? I do not know as I always fill in my return. We have around £20 a week after paying bills, debts, travel, pack ups etc to feed two adults two teenagers and two toddlers. My partners wage barely covers the monthly bills like rent and council tax. I struggle to find work due to a medical condition so I recently started my own on line business which doesn’t seem to be going any where. Any way I have learned over the past year the government and council do not care about families like us they are only interested in what they can get and cuts they can make to further line thier pockets, I would love to see one of them live my life for a day when all you can feed your kids is porridge or bread and your kids are coming home from school Ill as they are undernourished but it’s never going to happen. We can not wait for the governments help war need to help ourselves and each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Sorry if I appear to be hijacking your blog with overly politicised comments, but there was something I forgot to write earlier: it was said about Thatcher’s administration that they “knew the price of everything and the value of nothing”. I don’t think she was responsible for all of Britain’s ills, but she certainly kicked down the door for the “Greed Is Good” brigade and the political landscape has never looked back.

    I doubt very much whether privileged cretins like Cameron or Osbourne have the faintest idea what a food bank is. And it also appears that Ian Duncan Smith is unable to see the connection between his punitive Benefits approach and the rise in said food banks, or all the suicides that have subsequently occurred.

    Please keep writing about your front line experiences because it’s vital that people don’t just believe the lies they’re fed by vested interests or disconnected administrations.

    Best Wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hi, I have read both parts of this blog. You and your family sound amazing. So do alot of people who have left comments here. Your approach and attitude towards your problems is inspiring. Nobody has the right to critisize any action you have taken everything you have done sounds selfless. I have recently fallen on tough times too. I have worked since I left school but I was naive and, being young with few resposibilities, would spend any desposable income on enjoying myself. Shit hit the fan when I lost my job and had a car accident very close together. After medical expenses and all I was left homeless. I currently receive no benifets. I was lucky a man id never met before moved me into his house he is very kind. I have been living off whatever small amount of money I can get. The past 3 weeks I have survived off the money I got for scrapping the car. I buy 10 chicken fillets for 10 quid a week. That is all apart from some potatoes if I can get them. I am down to my last 3 quid, all in copper coins. I will not be buying food next week. Often my situation overwhelms me emotionally, today was one of them days. I would normally never read something like this I dont know why I did but im so glad I did. You have shown me that a bad situaton can be apprached with a positive attitude so I thank you. I will continue to work like you do to improve my life. I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world. Your also a very talented writer and I hope someday to read your book. I am not much with wordsi hope that made sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Hi my sympathies are with you I also Am in the grey area you talked about. I pay full rent, council tax and school dinners amount other bills and receive no help apart from tax credits. My husband works part time and I have just been paid off from my job so it’s back to Tesco value and shopping at a set time of night to catch the reduced food usually around half past six. Chin up and ignore the haters because they obviously have nothing better to do than try to bring someone down rather than lift them up. God forbid they should ever find themselves in your situation. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  36. You just keep going, I know what it’s like. I watched my mum & dad struggle for years to put food on the table for 4 kids & my dad worked. So many times I heard my mum crying cos she didn’t know what she was going to give us to eat the next day. I feel for you & those people are clueless idiots.


  37. Thank you Kathleen. Reading your blog has helped me feel less alone. Your right about the taboo surrounding having little to survive, you just don’t bring it up beyond the ‘sorry we can’t afford it’ comment even when a bit of support from friends would help because you feel embarrassed and that somehow this is all your fault. Being poor is made to feel like a condition you create for yourself which is far from the truth.
    Anyway my main aim was to thank you. Knowing that other people are in the same boat whether or not it is openly talked about really makes you feel that bit stronger. Keep up the good work!

    Katherine Jones

    Liked by 2 people

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